September 24, 2015, Mark 4:21-33
Prayer for Illumination
Living God, open my heart, mind, and body to experience you in this reading of scripture, that in experiencing you I might grow into someone who brings you honor. Amen.
4:21 He said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’ 24And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. 25For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’
26 He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
30 He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
In contrast to yesterday’s parables about threats to abundant life in the kingdom of God, today’s parables highlight the unstoppable goodness and power of that same kingdom.
Here the kingdom is a light that brings secret out of the shadows, a gift that once given gives the giver more to give, a seed that grows mysteriously to harvest without the farmer knowing how, and a weed which grows into a massive home for countless birds.
Can you think of a moment recently in your life that stands out as a sign of goodness breaking through, growing where it shouldn’t, or a light brightening a shadow in your life? What moment was that? Could that be an example of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven?
If you’re participating in these daily readings through Facebook, comment to this post with your answer to this question:
Post a synopsis of the “moment” you pondered.
Or, try to write your own parable using modern reference points, like “the Kingdom of God is like a viral video” or “it is like chicken pox at a pre-school.” Get creative!
Opportunity for Action
Remembering Christ’s words about a lamp and a lampstand, consider lighting a candle or candles tonight over supper with family or by yourself, while you read or pray, or as you go about your evening. See if you can let your eyes adjust to the light of one or a few candles. Ponder the light of Christ and how such a little light can be enough to light up an entire room.
Offer your own prayer or simply close your time of reflection with the Lord’s Prayer spoken aloud.