A Bible Reading: Mark 4. 30 – 32
Again Jesus said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 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.”
A Thought You may have noticed a bit of a theme running through my most recent ‘Thoughts for the Day’. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the small things that can make a significant difference.
As I look at situations around the world, whether it be climate change or the Covid pandemic, I can frequently feel overwhelmed and disempowered by their enormity. Anything I can do just seems like a miniscule drop in the ocean. However, I recently came across this headline: ‘BIG CHANGE starts small - The tiny seeds that are turning the tables on climate change’ and my curiosity was immediately aroused.
Climate change and extreme weather patterns have a devastating impact all over the world, but particularly in remote impoverished communities. In Nepal, most families earn a living from subsistence farming and most farmers are women, many widowed as a result of conflict. These courageous women face a punishing physical workload every day on treacherous mountain slopes. Climate changes adds further challenges, bringing long hot droughts followed by torrential seasonal rains and severe flooding. Now Covid is making this gruelling situation even worse. However, like the mustard seeds of the parable, cauliflower and cabbage seeds are making a difference!
A cauliflower seed is just a couple of millimetres in diameter, but it can still flourish in poor soil and erratic weather conditions. From this tiny starting point, first individual Nepalese families, then whole communities are starting to thrive and earn themselves a viable living. Practical Action’s ‘Seeds of Change’ project is one of many charity- supported schemes, helping communities to choose the best crops and to develop new farming techniques, solar-powered equipment and better water storage.
There is much here that resonates with Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. Growing the Kingdom of God can also seem a daunting and impossible task, particularly in a secular consumer culture. Can we too identify seeds that will nevertheless flourish in this environment? It might be simply sowing friendship into the life of a lonely individual, or providing a prayerful listening ear to a struggling family. It might be sowing regularly in prayer for our children and young people, for our school and nursery, especially as we prepare to restart ‘Open the Book’ in the Autumn. It might be something practical such as lending a hand with shopping or gardening, or it might be supporting the Foodbank. It is amazing what can grow by starting small.
Lord Jesus, helps us to sow small seeds of your Kingdom into our village communities day by day. Amen.
To learn more, you might want to check out the following websites:
Supporting the remote farming communities of Nepal and others.
Working to improve the lives of impoverished communities
Committed to the struggle for climate justice around the world.
These are just a few of the Christian charities supporting these types of farming projects, but you will also be able to find others.