Now Is The Time Lent Study

Weekly Devotions June 14th

Parables are tricky. They are not metaphors nor analogies (nor similes). Parables are stories that Jesus told to make listeners think outside the box; even back then people thought they had God figured out. I have heard that the word “parable” means “cast alongside” - think parallel line. Another image: peripheral vision - if you look at them straight on, you are not going to see what you need to see.

 Sunday June 14th we read a couple of parables in Mark 4:26-34 on the kingdom of God.

When pondering the first parable, I remembered the old (© 1945) children’s book called “The Carrot Seed”. It is the tale of a young boy who plants a carrot seed (talk about tiny!) then waits for it to grow. All the people around him said it wouldn’t grow….but finally a carrot came up as expected. Hmmm, a parallel line perhaps? Something about not perceiving, being dismissed, calling for hope? 

And about that mustard seed….I keep thinking mulberries….
The kingdom of God is like a mulberry seed which, after traveling through a bird, and separating from the berry, and landing on the ground (better than a car windshield) is very small. Yet it grows up to become a mighty shrub….with many fellow shrubs all over my lawn…and puts forth large branches so the birds may nest in its shade. 

I suspect there was a bit of humor in Jesus’ parable. I bet those mustard seeds produced a ridiculous amount of plants like our mulberries. I bet some even grew where they were not wanted. I bet those itty bitty seeds produced an annoying bunch of growth. I bet the listeners rolled their eyes when Jesus mentioned them. So, something about showing up in annoying places, taking over life in ways that I would never choose, being something I don’t want to deal with right now?

One more image for a parable: gemstone – they are multifaceted and look different as you turn them in your hand, or your head, or your heart. This means there is no right answer!

So what do you think?

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245