Let there be magic!

Mark 4: 26-32

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth.32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

For Mother’s Day this year, our son brought home a potted plant. With the help of his teacher, he had sown the seeds, and watered it until it grew into a beautiful, lush, green plant. Not only was he fascinated by what happened to those little seeds, he was thrilled about giving it to me. He said to me that he made magic. This is a two-year old’s experience with the birth of a plant.

In some ways I feel the parable of the growing seed and the mustard seed is like magic. Though there is chaos and disorder in this world, there are agents of transformation who can create magic. The seeds that are scattered haphazardly and randomly come to life. It is like the mustard seed whose appearance is insignificant but through the grace of God, it is transformed into a tree of life providing life for birds providing them a home to live. The kingdom of God is a dynamic kingdom. It springs to life even in the haphazardness and chaos of human experiences and with the grace of God, we can create magic and be agents of transformation for justice and peace.

 For those with leadership positions in the church, temptation is always to rely so much on our set plans that sometimes we suffocate the dynamism of the kingdom. Even worse, we come to a stage where we think that our plans, our efforts and our agency are the things that bring the kingdom to fruition. Jesus reminds through this parable that God works through us, beside us, with us and all around us, to bring seeds to harvest, yet in a way that is beyond our ways!

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A commitment made of faith…

A good relationship is not just about love. It is about respect, trust, faith, commitment and qualities that make growing together beautiful and not regretful. Some relationships are long and some are short. It may not be an easy ride but should be worth it. I know many couples who have lived together for many years and some have even celebrated golden  years of togetherness! In all these years together, they invest time, energy and care in nurturing their relationship. In the course of their time together, they travel, explore, find faith, happiness, struggle, make memories, fight, argue, bear the brunt of the other person’s  frustration, forgive, move on to dreaming new things, make ends meet, express their love in different ways and support each other. Some have children, grand children and even great-grand children. Some are happy and content with just each other.

Relationships can be extremely complicated and impossible to apprehend and yet most of us are or have been in a relationship at some point. What makes people choose to love and live together? It is a decision that changes their lives and it takes courage, trust and commitment to make such a decision. It is quite hard to find two identical people in a relationship! They usually come with big personality differences and they may learn to embrace and love these differences. In the learning period, they may let go of their egos (hopefully) and build a firm foundation of trust and honesty. Relationships mature with time and experiences and sometimes it is easier than it appears to be. At other times, relationships can be hurtful, aggressive, abusive and dishonest. Disappointments are hard to deal with especially if it is from the one you love the most and sadly people who love the most, hurt the most. It is important to communicate, to listen and to exercise a healthy exchange of honesty and openness. No human being is made to be abused or suffer. There are crossroads in life when a couple needs to question the integrity of their relationship when it starts being over-whelmed with relentless disappointment and hurt. Respect is important and should be mutual in a relationship.