Friday, January 27, 2017

Pastor's Column

                A Reflection on Matthew 13 and the
                                   Kingdom of Heaven

     Oh what a small seed.  How is it that you have flourished into this great harvest?  I was certain that your tale of growth and green was but a fable, and yet here you are, conquering my fields with your bountiful growth.  Please forgive my initial response to your abilities, but you see I’ve never planted such a seed before.  It was a leap of faith you could say, trusting in the word of another who had such exuberance and joy over your tiny shape.  I will never doubt your fruit again, and may I take hold of your essence in all that I seek to sow.
     I could certainly use your spirit in all areas of my life.  It seems the rest of the world could as well.  We don’t seem to recognize the ability of one small grain to transform a landscape into something so lush, so wonderful.  We would rather take hold of the nearest fruit without so much as a thought as to where it originated, or who nurtured its growth. We consume our own.  Forgive me, tiny seed, for my ignorance; my lack of faith in your ability to alter my perception of what something so small could achieve.
     I see now the fruits of your labor.  I say your labor, because, let’s face it; all I did was throw you in the ground without second-guessing whether or not you would even take root.  I was certain you’d fail.  But here you stand, mighty and vast, beautiful and luscious, providing shelter and food for so many!
     Like yeast within the bread, your leavening has brought an uprising of the greatest dough.  Your fields are vast and yielding nutritious life for all that come to you.  You have given so much without me giving anything at all.
     I have pillaged and plundered, taken and torn from your fields, and you continue to take root, somehow in the midst of my destruction, but yet your life continues to give life to me, to the birds of the air and to all in need.  Help me, little seed, to be like you.  In your hiddenness you are ever present; naked to the eye at first glance, but establishing a kingdom wherever you take root.  Your treasure is infinite and never ceasing, constantly at work creating a plethora of salvific fruit for all who would come and eat.  We are all in need of your divine fruit.  May I take this notion of giving so freely to heart, that in all my ways I might find myself pouring what little I have into others that great harvest would spring up throughout and within all the lives I intersect.
    You are like treasure waiting to give your endless riches to me if only I’d surrender my selfish ambitions, my ravenous ways of carelessness towards your fields, towards those you long to feed and shelter.  Help me , little seed, to recognize your ability to flourish in all places providing for all creation.  Give me your richness, your presence, your redeeming qualities of life that in all my endeavors your salvation would flow from me in a most restorative fashion imbedding your roots of life into the field and the farmer.  May all that long to eat be fed at your behest by these hands.  For who am I to decide where your crop is to take root?
     Oh, little seed, invisible yet all encompassing, who is sweeping across this ashen land with its lush, green, and radiant manifestation. You cast your net of produce across the entire landscape, even in my direction without my voice so much as calling out to You. Take root in me and well up inside a desire to embrace for my own becoming the radical giving of yourself without hesitation by only the  faith that you possess. You are so delectable, so fragrant, and yet you give yourself to me.  I know my destructive hands continue to do more harm than bring life, and yet you continue to provide for me, calling me to take hold of Your ways as my own.  Help me, little seed, to embrace your present kingdom that is all-encompassing, and building its sanctuary across the entire universe.
     Though your expanse is endless, your leaves branch right up to my hand calling me to carry your powerful little frame and plant it everywhere I go.  I want to give, I want to sow bountiful harvests for everyone, but I continue to set you down in the rock, in the thorns, in the ashes from the consuming fires I have rendered.  But I look back and everything is green.
     There you are, behind me, in front of me, imploring my heart to latch on to your gracious fragrance once again. Your net is cast.  I am found wanting.  You take me in as a harvester and implant your roots of life within my very soul; not for myself, but for every path I cross.
     You call me to plant and feed everyone, every creature, human and non, mountain and valley, ocean and stream, in order that your precious nutrients might revive all that is barren.
     Thank you, little seed, for taking root. Thank you for your presence and the kingdom you are growing.  Thank you for your succulent, and savory fruit that is overwhelming of all the senses.  Thank you for growing even in the ashes I have piled up on top of the grounds to which you’ve sown yourself.  Thank you for feeding me – my mind, body, and soul. Thank you for growing in my times of doubt.  Thank you for overcoming my greedy ways of taking you for granted and plundering your great gifts.
     Feed me with your grace that I may continue to strive for my conscience to be like yours – a conscience that places the recipient ahead of the sower. For I am the sower and this world is your field.  Let your kingdom flourish restoring all the tyranny to thanksgiving.
     Thank you for your provisions. Thank you, little seed, for restoring my faith in that which is unseen by opening my eyes to its ever-present reality.
     Yours in Christ,