Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Mustard Seed

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.” He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Mark 4: 26-34
The Gospels make it clear that correctly responding to Jesus, accepting his invitation, is a huge task. Our minds are pedestrian, his words are wings. He sees more in us than we see in ourselves. It is not easy to know yourself as mustard seed and be in the presence of someone who sees you as the sheltering tree of life. Paul Murray’s poem, ‘Know Yourself,’ captures some of this tension.
There is a world within you
no one has ever seen,
a voice no one has ever heard,
not even you.
As yet unknown
you are your own seer,
your own interpreter.
And so, with eyes and ears
grown sharp for voice or sign,
listen well –
not to these words
but to that inward voice,
that impulse beating
in your heart
like a far wave.
Turn to that sound and you
will find
what no one has ever found,
a ground within you
no one has ever seen,
a world beyond the limits
of your dream’s horizon

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