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Updated 12th June 2021

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Trinity 2

This past year or so, I think we’ve all had to develop a good deal of patience with the many restrictions that have been put on our lives. Three lockdowns; tier systems; long queues outside supermarkets and of course sadly casualties of the virus, have been a common feature of our lives.

‘When are hospitalizations going to go down?’ ‘When’s this queue going to go down!’ ‘When’s lockdown going to end?’ What’s going to happen on June 21st?’ When am I going to see my family again?’ ‘When can I go and watch my team again?’ Things we’ve all come out with. Yes patience has needed to be in good supply in such trying times and any small signs of improvement or hope are surely always a source of encouragement. We know of course there are many signs of hope with the Covid situation, not least with the vaccines, but alongside that we have to live with less welcome data and statistics. Anyway, I’m still going to go along with the cautious optimism that’s in the air and the sights and sounds of normality returning.

Maybe in your life, you can relate to other scenarios that you’ve had to endure. You might have felt a bit discouraged and impatient, but perhaps to counter that you found patience and saw things to be encouraged by to help you through. If we have a loved one or friend who’s not very well or maybe not in a good place in life, indeed that may be our very selves, then any small signs or even bigger signs of going in the right direction are most encouraging.

In today’s Gospel from Mark we hear of small signs of something going on that’s really quite good and much, much more! Signs of something slowly growing and gathering momentum, which would be a source of encouragement to the followers of Jesus and the early church. It is the kingdom of God. The gospel writer has Jesus talking in parable form as a source of encouragement to all believers. It all points to a momentum that has begun, which cannot be stopped. Ground being gained which will not be lost. Jesus talks of seed and how it grows and once it starts it’s not going to stop. Seeds are small, small enough to be scattered on the ground. Days and nights go by and the one who scatters sleeps and rises. ‘How’s the seed doing? When will it start to appear? And the seed then sprouts and grows. Alongside the farmers hard work the seed has a life of its own and the soil and everything else, gives it that life. We hear. ‘The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.’ Eventually the grain is ripe, the farmer goes in with the sickle because the harvest has come.

Similarly Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, ‘when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs.’

The mustard seed in fact is not the smallest of all the seeds, although it is considered as this in Palestine and it grows to a height of eight to ten feet. So not the smallest seed and not the biggest shrub, but that really doesn’t matter. What’s important is the that something with small beginnings can become something so much more, as a small a small seed planted in the ground can grow to around eight to ten feet, as would have been seen by the people Jesus addresses and the audience of this gospel.

The example encouraged them and gave them heart that the kingdom of God was real and it would only get better. More of it was to be had in the very best possible way. You just have to be patient and not too discouraged when it doesn’t always seem that way.

So may we hopefully keep on taking heart and maintain our patience as two things unlock whilst something else remains locked, or not visible for the time being. And may we be even more encouraged that there is something greater than the life we know, in the kingdom of God. It’s beginnings might seem small, but the kingdom of God is coming. Let us put our trust in Christ in whom suffering turns into hope and death turns into new life.

Amen

 

Download Sermon for 1st Sunday after Trinity - 6th June HERE

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Download Sermon for 3rd Sunday of Easter - 18th April HERE

Download Sermon for 2nd Sunday of Easter - 11th April HERE

Download Sermon for Easter Sunday - 4th April HERE

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