6 November 2018

Mark 4:26-34

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it (v. 33)

Psalm: Psalm 29
Singing the Faith 255: The kingdom of God is justice and joy


Jesus had called the twelve to follow him and they had been with him through his ministry of teaching and healing. In the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is preparing the twelve to be sent out to expand his work and mission. He is the master storyteller who presents his disciples with a richness of diet with which to feed their hearts, minds and souls. He offers them stories of human situations to which they can relate. He tells them of the father whose son went away to a far country, of the shepherd who lost one of his sheep, the woman who lost some money. He invites them to feel the joy when that which was lost is found and restored to its rightful place. Jesus invites his disciples to consider the effect of lighting a lamp and then covering it up in order to prevent its light shining out. He invites his disciples to consider the tiny mustard seed, lost in the palm of their hand, but which will grow into a substantial tree. The master storyteller touches the everyday experiences of his disciples’ lives and leads them to see the ways of the kingdom. And then he would send them out to help other people discover that same kingdom. They are to sow seeds which seem too small and vulnerable to amount to much, but they shall grow into something of substance. The seeds of the kingdom might be small, but they too shall grow into something of substance.

Today’s readings bring us to reflect upon what kind of kingdom it is that the disciples are to help people discover. As we reflect upon the nature of lives lived with wholeness we are encouraged by the psalmist to consider what this would look like. The powerful voice, thunderous glory and majesty of God will shake the security of earthly kingdoms and establish the kingdom of God. The fleeting glory of the earthly shall be replaced by the wholeness of the heavenly.

This is the kingdom of God of which our hymn for today has us sing. This is the kingdom of justice and joy, of restoration and freedom, of peace and welcome in which “all things cry glory to God all in all”.

To Ponder

  • What, in your local area, are the issues of justice that challenge you and what is happening to address them?
  • How can the local church empower you to be active in the cause of justice in the area in which you live and work?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon is Superintendent Minister of the Shaw & Royton Circuit in the Manchester & Stockport District. Adrian has been a presbyter since 1988 and, in addition to urban Lancashire, has worked on the Fylde Coast, in Leeds City Centre, the North East of England and as a mission partner in the South Pacific. Adrian is Chair of the CTBI Writing group which writes material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and serves on the liturgical subcommittee of the Methodist Church.

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