Grace and Peace to you, Dear Church,
from God and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen
I’ve been thinking a lot about mustard this week… Strange, I know but stick with me here. Here’s what I’ve learned about mustard, these past few days. Mustard is made with seeds from the mustard plant of which there are a few varieties; white or yellow, brown, or black. The Romans were the first to experiment with mustard. They used it as a glaze for roasted boar. Yummy! Mustard is used all over the world, India, Bangladesh, the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, Africa, and of course the Americas.
To create the condiment we all know and love, the mustard seed, whole or ground, is mixed with liquids and other spices. Mustard can range in color from bright yellow to dark brown. It can be sweet, spicy, or bold. A word of caution, you may not want to eat the mustard seed all by itself, it is a bit bitter.
So church, how do you like your mustard?
Simple, sweet, or spicy?
What is your favorite vehicle for mustard?
Sandwich, burger, hotdog, salad dressing, glaze, sauce, or marinade?
Now let’s try the latest mustard craze, yellow mustard on watermelon!
Do I have a brave volunteer?
Lest you think this sermon is entirely about mustard, lets get back to today’s scripture parables. Jesus told these parables about the Kingdom of God early in his ministry. Jesus spoke in parables so that only some would understand, those who were ready. Jesus also spoke in parables to explain the unexplainable, and to relay his radical Good News to the ordinary, the poor, and the oppressed. These two parables tell the story of my favorite concept, The Kingdom of God. To explain this concept Jesus used two parables about seeds.
The first parable depicts the miraculous growth of a seed. A seed begins dead and buried. It’s life begins hidden underground, then all of a sudden it appears above ground, grows and bears fruit. Finally, it dies again. This is also a depiction of resurrection.
The second parable depicts the smallest of seeds, the mustard seed. The small seed not only grows miraculously, as in the first parable, but it also grows to be the tallest of all the trees. It becomes a tree that offers comfort and shelter to the birds of the air.
You may be asking yourself, “What on earth does all of this have to do with the Kingdom of God?” Well, I’ll tell you. But first, you must ask yourself these questions?
Am I comfortable with mystery?
Am I comfortable with change?
How will I handle the reversal of societal roles?
Am I ready to be transformed?
Those are “Kingdom Questions.” These parables of Jesus point to the mystery of God, individual transformation and change, and the upheaval of society as we know it.
The Kingdom of God is unlike any Kingdom of this world. In the Kingdom of God, the dead will rise again, the least will become the greatest, and those who become great will care for the least. This is divine transformation. This is the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not in some far away galaxy. The Kingdom of God is among us right here. It begins with the smallest bit of faith, planted in the heart and and soul and grows to be a living, breathing, walking, example of Jesus Christ in this world.
You may still be asking yourself about the watermelon and the mustard. Well, here’s the thing, the Kingdom of God is radical for this world, just like watermelon and mustard. The Kingdom of God offers radical welcome, radical acceptance, and radical change for which many are not yet ready.
Dear Church, may your hearts and your souls be ready for the smallest of seeds of faith. May you be ready for the radical transformation that God has in store for you and for all creation. May you bring about the Kingdom of God in this world in the name of Jesus. Amen