Seeds of Potential Surrounded by God’s Nourishing Love

June 17, 2018

I am fascinated by farming.  While it really takes trust, it also has become scientific. More is known now than ever before about chemicals needed to provide the best yield.  Soil samples track nutrients that provide useful information as to what will grow best in the upcoming year.  Rotation of crops is more scientific than just a guess.  We are blessed that all of this can provide farmers with accurate information to help them.  But even with all the expert information, weather, temperature and natural disasters can change everything. Farmers know some things are out of their control.  They live this reality every day.

In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, we are told of the smallest seed that grows into a very large plant.  It is so large at times that its branches can provide shelter for the birds of the sky.  For the smallest of a seed to grow, the factors of soil, water and sunlight are all important to the process of growing.  Growth happens through what is already on the ground, refreshment given from the sky and warmth that takes away the coolness of the night.  When planted, every seed carries the hope, promise and expectation of growth.  Some factors are controllable. Some are not.

We are invited into this parable as the provider of shelter for others.  We are invited to become the fully grown plant providing for others.  This happens when we see growth as a reality.  We must see that growth always has a purpose.  It is not only so that we can be strong, but also so that we can be useful to God’s will.  In the parable, the branches provide shelter and shade for another creature of creation different than the mustard plant.  This is significant.  When God invites us to grow, it is never for the sake of ourselves, nor is it for a comparison to others; it is to provide shelter for another that is different than ourselves.  The bird is from a different kingdom of species that God has created.  The mustard seed is too. One is from the animal kingdom the other from the plant kingdom.  Growth always happens for the purpose of providing for the needs of another.

Our spiritual growth is always given so that we will provide for the needs of another.  Our spiritual growth is always to make a difference.  Whether it is shelter, forgiveness or love, growth happens not only by our choices, but also by what God provides.  We are called to trust and be patient.  In this past year I have been blessed to do a little more reading by authors who are Jewish rabbis in order to gain insight of the richness of our traditions.  While it was not the same reading of the books required at the seminary, at this time in my spiritual journey they are providing me with new insights and a great joy.  Why now?  Why do I find it fascinating?  It is my belief that it is to provide insight into the celebration of Sacraments, a better understanding of the prophets and to share all of this with all of you.

God offers us the seeds of growth and God will provide His nourishing life.  It is up to us to not only grow in this love, but to allow it to achieve its purpose; to shelter and provide for others.

Reverend John J. Ouper