Thursday, 3 October 2013

Seeds and Servants

GospelLuke 17:5-10 

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.
  ‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’


They are a covetous lot, these apostles. Their faith in Jesus is enough to expect him to provide for their needs; their trust is enough for them to ask - for the world - but that wasn't what they were called to. Not too long ago, they were commissioned to become fishers of men; bringers of peace, healers and exorcists. Their faith should not be held in a jar; secured in a treasure trove. It should be in the knowing of being chosen in the first place; in the call that they are answering, albeit tentatively, with every step of the journey.

Interestingly, mustard seeds are generally planted as an annual harvest - as the seeds, tiny as they are, are the valued part. The mulberry tree, on the other hand, grew into an ancient, spreading crone of a tree, sending out a myriad of root networks to garner as many nutrients from the earth as possible, starving out any competitor for food and light. Their lifespan takes them to six or seven hundred years. A critique of the relationship between the Good News and the structures that had become planted, exclusive and exploitative perhaps. Jesus' expectation that his 'seedlings' would be enough to thwart the traditions that had held so many captive.

And that, like seedlings, it is the striving for light, for life, for transformation, that should sustain them. 

If you have ever seen seedlings of any kind, you cannot fail to be amazed by their tenacity; finding purchase in concrete, through tarmac, surrounded by brambles or edging out of the cracks of mortared brickwork. Beholden to no-one, except their Maker, they reach out to every drop of morning dew or misted rain; they suck the nutrients from the scarified dust and tie their roots into the barest of hopes. 

And they persevere. Their life wrapped in God's desire; a thread in the weave; the warp and weft. Each one of us is a thread; a part of the pattern. Despite, in spite of, the trials and the temptations that surround us we are reminded that it is not about the ego, the little us, but about the 'bigness' of being part of this something more.

What more is there? What more 'Christ-like' is there; than to serve others, for no other reason, than it is our nature?


Wordinthehand2013





1 comment:

Claire Bangasser said...

Despite, in spite of, the trials and the temptations that surround us we are reminded that it is not about the ego, the little us, but about the 'bigness' of being part of this something more.

So very true, Word. And if everyday I woke up with this thought, my life would undoubtedly change :-)

Thank you.