We welcomed Nick Campbell, recently made a Reader in our diocese, to speak at our monthly Open Table service recently. Thank you to Nick for speaking, and for this summary of the talk:
The Kingdom of God isn’t easy to understand is it? That’s why Jesus uses parables to help make it clearer.
In the parable of the mustard seed we learn that God’s world is different from many aspects of the physical world we live in. God’s kingdom is an inclusive and merciful community based on practical and grace filled service to others. Whenever we serve others, those in need or the sick, we are serving God and His Kingdom. A good example is the work of St Chrysostom’s Church in the work it undertakes with asylum seekers and those who for whatever reason are seeking refuge and support.
Sometimes, however, when we follow God we face rejection from others because of our faith. Why is it worth it then to even attempt to become Christ’s Kingdom builders here in Manchester? It’s worth it because in Jesus we meet a God of forgiveness and grace and love.
Ours is a God who loves us just as we are and does not reject us because of who we choose to love or be.
We meet him every time we share communion with each other in Church and whenever we experience real Christian fellowship. Jesus is encouraging us to live the kingdom in every aspect of our lives because the kingdom is here and now on earth.
God’s Kingdom is ever present and without compare. Within God’s Kingdom, we get more than we bargain for. The mustard seed and its ultimate growth into a towering tree represent God’s pervasiveness in our lives.
We have to make room for the Kingdom. We must allow it to take over our very being in a big way. When we allow God to be significant in our lives, we create a path for him to be significant in the lives of other people too.
The message Matthew wants to share with us is that God’s Kingdom is near. When we feel alienated, separated and estranged, maybe by others or maybe by our own selves, when it feels like everyone and everything is against us, it’s easy to forget that God is unequivocally for us. Sometimes we get dirt in our eyes and the deep realities of his divine love are hidden from us. When that happens, we must remember that the subtleties of God’s kingdom require that we adopt a discerning heart in order to find them.
A grain of Mustard Seed can become a tree, and if we really want it we can become Christ’s kingdom builders here on Earth right here, right now!