Jesus employs a number of images to refer to the Kingdom of God. I’m thinking particularly about the nature images of grains of wheat and mustard seeds. What is Jesus telling us about God’s Kingdom by using these particular images?
One point Jesus makes is that we don’t know how the seed grows, but it does. There is an inevitable process of growth that happens which ultimately yields a fruitful harvest. The mustard seed is very small, but, once planted, it grows into a large plant that provides shelter for the birds. What are we to make of these images?
The lesson I take is that God’s Kingdom is on an inevitable forward trajectory. There are times when we look around at the state of the world and wonder how that can be, but the image of growth and fruitfulness Jesus uses is unmistakable. It is especially during the difficult times that we are called to trust and hope in the movement of the Spirit among us and that our life and human civilization itself will be fruitful and provide a good harvest. The resurrection of Jesus points us in that direction as well.
We can make this lesson personal and reflect on how positive growth has happened in our own life over the years, sometimes called a personal faith history. We don’t always know how this growth happened, and sometimes we become aware of it only in hindsight, but it is there and is evidence that the Spirit of God is at work not only in the wider world but also in my very self.
“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.” (Mark 4:28-29)