Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Kingdom of God is like a... weed?

Mustard plants are not trees.
This Sunday's lectionary scripture for the Gospel focuses on a lot of the smaller parables in chapter thirteen of Matthew which includes the famous parable of the mustard seed.

I know, I know, being faithful in a small thing can lead to something large.

True.

But as we look at the parable, there may be more there than this particular truth.  In fact, the mustard plants were seen as weeds by the Hebrew people at that time and they tried to get rid of them.   They were not trees as Matthew mentions so why would he name them as such?  We can see that Matthew has included Mark's definition of the mustard plant as a shrub and evolved it into a tree.

It could be that this is a play on the comparison of Israel to a mighty cedar in Ezekiel 17:22-23.  It is also mentioned as a home to various living creatures.

But if the mustard seed was seen as something invasive - something that was hard to get rid of - does that change the reading of the parable?

What if Jesus had said, "The Kingdom of God is like crab grass that someone deliberately spreads in your Bermuda lawn and it takes over and you can't get it out!"

Have we let the Kingdom of God invade our lives like this?  Or do we use too much spiritual Roundup to keep our lives neat and tidy?

I'm looking forward to this Sunday as we explore these particular parables as told by Matthew.  Steel-toed boots might be appropriate wear in case Jesus decides to step on them a little.

In Christ,

Sam


Picture By Amit Kaushal via Wikimedia Commons

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