Space to Grow…with plenty of water

Text: Mark 4:26-34
Full Text of Sermon

We all have a bias to the dramatic. The problem is that the really incredible stuff happens in the quieter times. What the dramatic does is reveal. It reveals those that have grown and prepared. It reveals those who are escaping a burning house. It reveals those who don’t. Mark is the only gospel to include the parable of the patient (maybe neglectful) farmer. Mark is dramatic in that way. He includes the tough, the embarrassing. Mark’s Jesus doesn’t include adultery as a grounds for divorce. Mark’s Jesus – not even the son – doesn’t know the day or the hour of the end. The affront within this dramatic parable is the absence or neglectfulness of God. He sleeps and rises – night and day. He plants seeds and is clueless about the rest. The earth itself bears fruit. Only when the fruit is ready – and this apparently by accident as the farmer hasn’t done anything but watch – does the harvest come. That parable is tied together in the text with the mustard seed. The word is found in small things.

What is more artfully put forward in the sermon is that the very smallness, the obscurity and commonness of the gospel, is what gives us the space to grow. And the farmer’s point is growth and fruitfulness. The promises of God attach to things like bread and wine, water, the gathering of believers and the scriptures. Small things. Things easily neglected and overlooked. But those are the readily available water of grace. That is where you meet and find God in this world. The rest is for the growth of his people. God backs off, provides space, for his people to grow. What is necessary is supplied.

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