When we think of the billions of people who populate the earth and the immensity of the problems that face humanity, we can feel very small and powerless to do anything. Stuck in long lines at the store or trapped on the freeway in a sea of cars that are not moving, we feel like just one of millions of powerless shoppers or commuters, unable to get the lines moving or the traffic flowing. Sometimes when we contemplate the magnitude of the world’s problems, we wonder how our lives and our good actions could really make much of a difference.
Jesus reminds us in the Gospel, that even though it can seem at times like our lives are small and insignificant, to God, our lives are never small and insignificant. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a huge tree. He says the kingdom of heaven is also like the little portion of yeast that makes dough rise into a substantial loaf of bread (Matthew 13:24-43).
The images of the mustard seed and the yeast remind us that small actions make a difference. Building the world that God desires, which is what the kingdom of heaven is about, is a gradual process. It is not one solitary action that builds a world of reconciliation, justice and peace. Building the kingdom happens through countless seemingly small actions, that when combined with others, turn into a world of forgiveness, tolerance and charity. Fashioning the world God wants requires the actions of all of us, not some of us. What can seem small and insignificant, like a smile, a kind word, or a Hail Mary, when added to the totality of other such actions, become life-saving and healing.
There was a king who invited his subjects to a banquet. He told each guest to bring a flask of wine and informed each one that his wine would be poured into a large wine vat. Each one thought, “What will my small flask of wine mean? I will bring my small flask of water and no one will know the difference.” When the guests assembled at the banquet, the king summoned his servants to serve them the contents of the vat. Each was served water, for they all had thought their little flask of wine would not matter. Remember the mustard seed.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector