In this Chapter within the Gospel of Mark we will have already been aware of the Parable of the Sower and whether we should keep a light under a basket – the meaning of the parable appears to be rather certain even before we start. We plant things in rich soil so it may grow. But possibly we have heard this one before many many times…
“With what can we compare the Kingdom of God….It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on Earth; yet, when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs” Mark 4: 30-32 (abridged)
Here is a Coconut. It is quite large, hairy and hard. I can pass it from hand to hand, and hopefully won’t drop it on anyone’s foot! I have tried to put it in my pocket but I just can’t do it. I doubt it would fit into any of our bags we might have here this morning. I couldn’t exactly hide it from your view – it’s quite large. Inside is a beautiful seed. If we cracked it, we could all enjoy its bounty. <Not a time to bring out a chocolate bar>
Ah, I have here a potato. It is also quite large, has a particular aroma – ooh and a little bit squishy.
If you don’t mind I won’t try and put it in my pocket, although I doubt it would fit anyway – not all of them. It is a seed, has so much potential.
Perhaps this date seed. It is hard, heavily grooved, wonderful texture, and slightly sticky still. I can still smell the richness of the fruit. The seed is not so large, but I could put it in my pocket I suppose. No one would see it then.
Ouch!, when I sit down, it hurts. I’ll remove it if you don’t mind.
I have a broad bean. When I was a child I never used to like broad beans, then in our first garden I grew some – wonderful.
It has that characteristic groove on the top, it’s much smaller than the rest of the seeds. I can put that in any of my pockets and no one would see it. I might squash it as it isn’t that hard when sat on.
Ah, I have what you are expecting. A mustard seed. It’s so small; therefore,
I have been very careful and put it on some paper and then stuck it down with sellotape. Well, I didn’t want it to blow away! Can you all see it? It’s very small, as our Biblical text foretold.
If I threw the seed onto gravel we’d lose it, if it went onto earth I also think we might lose sight of it; but, I can put it in any of my pockets – it is easily transportable.
We have heard about the mustard seed for many years, in fact year after year we have heard about it. We are aware of the story of how it has that potential to grow so large, to a significant size for a shrub – possibly up to 20 feet in diameter just from this one little seed! Where did I put it?
The mustard seed is like our faith. It has that potential to show others about the Kingdom of God, but it shouldn’t get lost, or be hidden in some deep recess of our pocket or bag. If I walked down the High Street, who’d know I had a mustard seed in my pocket? Even at home my wife wouldn’t know.
The coconut couldn’t be hidden. It is clear, unambiguous, brazen in fact. It’s out there. If I walked around town with a coconut….. – yes I agree people might stare but they’d know what I was carrying. And if this was our faith, would they know about our faith?
This coconut has a rich milk inside, capable of sustaining and be life-giving. The flesh is rich in unsaturated fats, it has carbohydrates and even some protein. It has what is needed for life. And then there’s the husk, capable of being a cup for others to drink from – it has a purpose.
Can we envisage our faith, not as a tiny mustard seed, but as a coconut? Are we prepared for our faith to be seen by others? Not hidden but exposed for people to question, for it to be shared? Are we willing for people’s appetites to be sated because of what faith in God can deliver?
If we are willing, then our faith in Jesus Christ, will enable others to see what makes us tick, gives us life, permits our life to be lived abundantly. Here we can make disciples, through relationships, open honest relationships shaped by transparency, as they can easily see how our faith is moulded, developed and which grows in our relationship with our ever loving God.
Reconsider this coconut: are we willing to be discovered by others, seen by others through our faith? It isn’t something to hide, but something which is thrilling when we share our faith in God. Amen