Sunday, June 17, 2012
From today's Old Testament reading (1 Samuel 16:7): When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is now before the Lord." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
And from the Gospel (Mark 4:26-34): the parable of the mustard seed.
The mustard plant was an ordinary, fast-growing, even invasive weedy shrub. It was one of those nuisance plants.
Like Samuel, we think we know what God treasures and how God ought to work. But we don't. All through the Old and New Testaments, God uses the ordinary, the flawed, the one/the stuff no one would look at, to do the work of the kingdom. Look at that ordinary plant - it's all around, not distinguished except for its vigorous growth that provides for the outdoor creatures.
And that's what the kingdom is like. It's everywhere, mysteriously growing, providing sustenance and shelter. And one remembers the Song of Mary: God has lifted up the lowly. God subverts our expectations and assumptions. The ordinary stuff all around us is kingdom stuff, too.