All week long I've been thinking about the parable of the mustard seed. It was part of last Sunday's gospel reading, it's the only part of the sermon that I really heard, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
I keep thinking about how it's OK that the mustard seed is small, unimpressive. Not about how it grows into something mighty, just that it's ok when it's small. It's a small, hard globe-- and that's enough.
If there's such a thing as overwhelming comfort, I'm finding it there. Lately when I've been thinking of it, I'm picturing God stroking my hair, like we do to a child we're putting to sleep.
And then this evening I went from that image to thinking, "That's all well and good, but then God says you have to get out there and stand on your own two feet."
What the hell?!
No. God does not say that. Nowhere in the New Testament have I ever read that Jesus told his disciples, "Alright, it's time for you to take over here. I'm done." A shepherd never tells the sheep, "Start leading yourselves now, I've got better things to do."
Jesus says, "Surely I am with you always" and "I go ahead to prepare a place for you, that where I go there you may also be." Or there's the really beautiful one, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
What the hell have I been thinking? I do sort of appreciate the irony, though-- I've been thinking that doing everything perfectly, and on my own was most pleasing, and most right. Never mind the fact that over and over and over again, we see God trying to draw us closer, not push us away. How many times does Jesus have to tell the Pharisees that love matters more than law before I realize he's talking to me? That his love extends to me, and it's not contingent on my impressive self-sufficiency? That it's more likely that my regard for self-sufficiency gets in the way.
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."
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