What I’m Thinking: Growing

In these two parables from Mark, Jesus compared the realm of God to things that… grow. Perhaps heaven isn’t static after all?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about two parables of Jesus found in the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel (Mark 4:26-34).

The first is quite short and quite straightforward. Jesus compared the realm of God to a farmer planting seed in a field. It sprouted and grew and the farmer didn’t know why or how. “The earth,” said Jesus, “produces of itself.” And so you get the growth. Eventually the grain became ripe, and then the farmer knew it was time for the harvest.

The second parable in this section is the somewhat better known parable of the mustard seed. Here again, Jesus compared the realm of God to the mustard seed, a tiny seed that when planted and sprouted grows into this amazingly large plant. Here in Hawai’i, we might think about the ohi’a, again a tiny seed, and yet in the right places ohi’a trees can soar ninety to a hundred feet above the ground from which they grew.

Both of these parables are, in their brevity, quite rich. There is the mystery of the parable of the grain in the field. There is the comparison between what seems small and irrelevant and its potential in the parable of the mustard seed. The early Christians would have found that notion of growing from something small into something great reassuring, promising, enlivening.

The two parables share one thing in common, and that is the theme of growth. In neither of them is the realm of God something is static or fixed. In both stories the realm of God is compared to something that goes from one place to another.

We have, I think, a bad habit in the Christian Church of believing that heaven is something fixed and immovable, but I think that the realm of God is something that maintains growth and change, something that maintains that sense of expansiveness, that sense of becoming something greater than we were.

On the one hand, I think this means that we are called to exercise patience, as difficult as it is. Things do not happen overnight in the life of faith. But it is also such great, great promise to us, is it not, that I do not have to be the person that I am? I can be something greater. That the world which is filled with joys and filled with sorrows can be transformed into something where the joys are greater and the sorrows are, well, comforted.

The realm of God is a realm of growth. Thanks be to God.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on June 7, 2021

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