21 January 2016

Mark 4:26-34

“He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?’” (v. 30)

Psalm: Psalm 17


Here we have two illustrations of what the kingdom of God is like. Two illustrations that leave Google searches filled with descriptions of farming for people who are not farmers and of exactly what mustard seeds are like and their position in the understanding of that age for people whose only knowledge of mustard is a jar labelled Colman's.

What I don't see so much in the Google results is much description of what the kingdom of God is like.

From these images I'm seeing the kingdom of God as a place where the otherwise unnoticed, insignificant start is noticed, love and nurtured; where the smallest and least important produces abundance that is celebrated; where the small, vulnerable, fragile is transformed into large and fruitful; where the death of a seed in the ground is key to new life and growth; where the growth of one is not at the expense of others.

I can't help but wonder what illustrations of the kingdom of God we are using today? What are our equivalents of seeds and planting?

Maybe there is something about fractals: "A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop." So the huge beauty from repeating something that starts very small and insignificant?

Or maybe the flourishing of a human child through love, care, education and hope from a helpless baby to an adult transforming the lives of others?

Or the kingdom of God is like the small changes we are able to make being added to others, being transformed from insignificant to world-changing signs of hope?

Or the kingdom of God is like acts of love, justice, reconciliation and peace that start small and end transforming lives and communities?

The time we are living in (the time that follows the death and resurrection of Jesus) is often described as a time when the kingdom of God is come in part but is not yet complete. Surely then we should be full of stories, illustrations and examples of where we see the kingdom of God both here and coming. Where are they?

To Ponder

  • What illustrations of the kingdom of God are most powerful in your life? Why?
  • Where is the kingdom of God visible today? What does it look like? What illustrations describe it?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dave Warnock

Dave Warnock is a Methodist minister in the Leicester North Circuit based in Syston, Leicester. He is passionate about lots of things (including Scripture, discipleship, gender/sexual equality, pacifism and cycling) and loves being part of the Methodist people.