The Mustard Seed
August Reflection 2017
One of my favourite images of the Kingdom of God, and the church is the mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds (its presence and energy hidden in mystery) which becomes a huge tree, so that the birds come and nest in its branches, the creatures of the field nestle in its shade, and people come take the fruit –go home, sit around a table, light a candle and create a feast of food, conversation and culture.
How lovely when we see this image revealed in a person. A good friend of mine John Cobby died recently at the age of 93. He was such a person, a forester in Kenya, and South Africa. I got to know him in his later years. He had such green fingers, hands like soil, he could make plants grow in his hands. Flowers streamed like crimson rivers from his pots. I enjoyed his knowledge, conversation and humanity – loved the way he and his wife made friends with younger people. He was the delight of his whole family, all his grandchildren – a huge tree. There are two words that speak of him”: hospitality and invitation.
He was like the householder in the parable who took out of his store: things old and things new.
There was that sense of about him, of the old and the new coming together, and of the adventure of life going forward.
How lovely when we see the image of the mustard tree revealed in a person.
Two poems on the theme.
Trees I see you in a new way,
You are the great earth mothers,
You rise from her depths like a hand,
and where there is nothing,
Slowly, steadily, you reach
into it. And you say to us,
see nothing teems with life.
The song of birds celebrate sky
Insects burrow mansions unimaginable
Water falls and rises with a heartbeat
Shadows shape new moments
and moons ease through your leaves.
Mornings you bathe with fragrances
and like one who nurtures,
you give your bark, your leaves and fruit,
even your tears of resin.
Teasing our imaginations you say,
What will you do with these?
You say, when will you take
your hand and reach into nothing.
Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.