What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches. Luke 13:18-19
The large, brown seed sat in our cupboard for a good month or more. Sealed within a zip-loc bag, surrounded by moistened paper towels, it was my husband’s experiment, the result of a moment of possibility.
It seemed, at best, forgotten.
Then one day, after an Internet search for instructions, he planted it shallow in a white ceramic pot, watered it, and placed it on the window shelf.
Something maternal in me must have kicked in then, because I watered it faithfully along with my violets and ivies. I watered it too little, I watered it too much, and still, there it sat, half-buried, like a stone sleeping in the barren brown dirt.
I couldn’t tell you how long it took – weeks? months?
Watering, watching, waiting, forgetting to wait, while life stirred unnoticed within.
Then it split, cracked open down the middle and out curled a small green shoot, bent but rising, like a head bowed in prayer, now lifting.
The kingdom of God is like this, Jesus said, and then later also, “the kingdom of God is within you.”
So maybe we too are these seeds, these trees planted and growing, seen and unseen in the midst of a busy and barren world. We are watered, too much at times, or not, and the roots grow first, pressing down blindly like worms into the dirt.
Then comes the cracking open, the split right down the middle of our lives, that sends forth the shoot. And then it’s all hungry drinking in of light and water as we too are grown into trees and the birds of the air – those lonely, wandering, homesick birds – make their nests in our branches.