Faith Daily |26 July 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p565
O God, the protector of all that trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy,
that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal
that we finally lose not the things eternal.
Grant this, O heavenly Father,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 13: 31-35
31 He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
33 He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with* three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet:* ‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Peta-Anne Warwick
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed; it is very small but it produces tremendous growth and finally produces a tree size plant that can provide shade and shelter to birds. Yes, God’s kingdom did start small and in humble beginnings, with just 12 ordinary disciples following Jesus around a small piece of land in the Middle East. Now it has grown to penetrate every country in every continent on the earth. And in the parable of the yeast, the quantity of the yeast is small yet its effect is much bigger than its size. For this to happen, the yeast must be mixed in thoroughly so that it is at one with the rest of the dough. Outwardly it loses its identity, and in fact that is the only way it can fulfil its mission. It is a simple illustration of the kingdom of heaven, that although small and hidden, it will eventually spread through the whole earth. And the influence of the kingdom in this world is such that everyone associated with it will find a benefit just like the birds perching on the branches of the mature mustard plant.
I spent 9 months living in Laos in 2013-2014. Vientiane, in Laos, appeared to be a very relaxed, behind the times kind of place, with a predominantly buddhist outlook. However, repression of protestant Christians was a very real factor. I understand that in 2012 the repression had intensified such that when I was given my orientation around the town, the consultant recommended that the cross he saw me wearing around my neck should be removed or remain hidden and I was to avoid any Christian discussion in open forums. There was a little Catholic Church in town, but it took more work to find where other denominations worshipped. I found them down a dusty road, in an upstairs class room of a little school that taught English. And this is where I understood the parable of the mustard seed and, particularly, the yeast. In that little classroom, every Sunday, between 10 to 30 Christians of different denominations congregated to worship and share the Eucharist; and they represented many different nationalities. Included in the worship was prayers for the Christians that had “mysteriously disappeared”. And at the end of the service, everything representing Christianity seemed to disappear into a locked cupboard, except the fellowship of those Christians.
It is easy for us to look at our own small part in God’s plan and feel discouraged. Together these two parables teach us not to be discouraged, but to continue working and praying together for God’s kingdom. And by following Jesus through the Gospels, in ourselves we will see mustard seed sized faith we began with grow in to a plant sized, and eventually be a tree sized, faith; a faith that weathers storms because we are planted firmly in Him.
Charles Spurgeon the famous theologian once said “Do what you do thoroughly, pray over it heartily, and leave the result to God.”
FINAL PRAYER: written by Melissa Conway
Tender God of the garden,
We come to you with our tiny seeds of faith, hope and love,
And we offer them to your care.
Help us to be grounded in you.
Nourish and strengthen us with your love.
Let us grow and flourish to be open, welcoming and protecting of all creatures.
We pray in your holy name. Amen.