June 13th: Second Sunday after Trinity
1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13
Psalm response ‘We will call upon the name of the Lord our God
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Mark 4: 26-34
Note to reader – St Marys runwell is a very lovely saxon church with a very large copper beech tree outside its door. The day I gave this was HOT and as everyone files out I knew we would all be under the shade of the tree. We would be surrounded by the many gravestones that sit under it.
They are quite formal in service, and the church has many people who have come for most of their lives.
Has anyone at St Mary’s ever heard of Radulphus?
The earliest rector ever recorded here at St Mary’s was Radulphus in 1181. I wonder what sermons he preached and how many times he said something that resonated with someone listening, sat not more than a few feet from where you are today. We sit here today part of that story, and I wonder what lives they all had. I wonder what lives all the parishioners had since then. What petitions did they bring before God, what were they? What I wonder have all the people sat where you are today asked for, as they bowed their heads in prayer?
I wonder did God give them what they wanted, or in what way did he help them see what’s happening? If at all, quite often, we are clueless to see what the heck is happening, especially in the midst of everything.
How many of us look back on our lives and see where God has known better than us, or how many times have we prayed and seen the velocity of our lives change course long after a prayer. Sometimes we wonder why our plans have gone awry and plead with God to put them back! Sometimes when we look back, we see that if X or Y had not happened, our lives would have missed some real purpose that God had in store.
How many seeds has God sown, all unknown in all the lives that have been sat where we are today, and really we cant see them or they are held in the dark until they are fully grown?
That’s what our first parable is about today, things that God sows in our lives in our world that we don’t see until he is ready to show us or that we may never see.
This parable is about the things that God does in the dark or at the same speed that mustard seeds grow into trees. Things that grow so slowly or things over a tree’s life span, which means we may never see them bear fruit because it won’t happen in the lifespan we have?
A Sermon by a famous French theologian in 1866 contained the words,
Blessed are old people who plant trees knowing that they shall never sit in the shade of their foliage. Maybe that’s got some wisdom for today. In all the lives that have sat where we are today how many planted seed’s that grew into tree’s real or metaphorical that we sit in the shade of?
How many of them did things guided by God, in the dark just like a seed grows in the dark, that affect our lives today?
We don’t know how mustard seeds are created inside a pod but we know they need so many things to flourish, and planted, and watered, and tended for.
Only God knows how, and why, and what for and that’s the story of our first parable today. The things that God plants that we don’t know or notice until the tree has grown bore fruit. All those stories precious to God, working to contribute to his purpose, add their bit to his story.
He also reaps what he sow’s, and we await the day he harvests and brings us all home to rise again with him. That idea brings us on to the next parable of our pair. We live in that space of now not yet in our lives. Jesus planted the seed, the seed that grows into a large tree that birds sit in the branch of, that gives life to our planet, that we sit in the shade of. That seed that has a secret life as the roots burrow down in the soil and live in harmony with our planet. So as with all Jesus stories, there is a mystery here. We, as Christians, live with mystery. I think mystery is a significant part of both our stories today. The seed’s planted in our lives and the countless lives before or after that we don’t see until God’s ready to show us, or maybe we just don’t see in this life but maybe in the next. We await our turn in God’s harvest, knowing that when he brings us to him, we will never die nor need harvesting again. Maybe then we will see more of the things he created, and tended and sowed and harvested.
Planted through love, and love always has a choice. God won’t force us to listen to him. Love never forces anything on anyone but tries to pull and cajole and caress its beloved into a place of safety and wholeness. Love is willing to die for its beloved, as our lord died for us, planting the seed that allows us to come to glory. God’s harvest is us with him forever made into everything he wanted us to be. One day we are promised to see that come to fruition, we believe we will rise in glory to share that glorious harvest.
When you leave today have a look at the tree outside. I am reliably informed it’s a copper beech tree.
Maybe wonder, who put the little sapling down, and tended it until it was the magnificent things we see today. They maybe imagined what they might look like fully grown, but we get to see the glory of them.
That’s what our parables are about today. Knowing who planted the seed, and tends it sometimes without us knowing who tended them, who created the seed, who will harvest the seed and the promise of seeing the story come to its magnificence crescendo of eternity with him. You, me, all of us, including radulphus and all who believed with him 😊
I wonder if part of the thread that really joins us to radulphus,
a bishop long ago once said If I get to heaven I think I will be surprised by three things, one that I am there, two people I expected to see but don’t, and people I didn’t expect to see 😊
That loops us to part of our purpose here, is to sit here and wonder what do we have to do, to be, to say, to act like to know in our hearts, to have faith in, so that we become the seed that God scatters on the ground
that when the harvest comes
One day we will all rise in glory.