By Johnny Tuttle
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
I am a sucker for the universality – the “catholicity” – of this string of parables. They seem concerned, not simply with identifying the Kingdom of God, but the universal reach of its presence.
Certainly, the mustard seed is a speck in the field. Yet, as the parable announces, it grows into “the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” I suppose you could debate whether the mustard seed is indeed the smallest seed, or whether it is the greatest of shrubs when it is grown; I’ll pass on that debate. It seems the point, rather, is that the entirety of this “sprawling” plant – one large enough to house the birds of the air in its branches – is contained by the seemingly insignificant seed. Read more