Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lenten Reading Mark 4: 26-41

Mark 4: 26-41

The first section marks the end of Jesus’ first sermon in this gospel. He concludes with a couple of sower and seed stories that folks would have immediately connected with, given the rural, farming audience.

Jesus talks about the growing seed getting ready for the harvest, and the mustard seed - the smallest of all seeds - growing into a bush, feeding birds and giving shade.

People would have realized that the harvest that Jesus was talking about was the day of abundance that God was going to provide. People were struggling to feed themselves, were taxed beyond their ability to make a living, and often saw their children enslaved to pay Caesar what was owed. They were angry at God and at the Romans.

Some Jews tucked themselves away to devote their time to prayer (The Essenes) as a way of resisting the Romans. Others banded together as a violent revolutionary force in effort to oust the Roman occupiers. Jesus had a different, but no less revolutionary method for dealing with the Roman oppressors.

The small seed will be “raised up” implying that the mighty will be cast down. “‘The way of the sower’ will...be revealed as the way of nonviolence: servanthood becomes leadership, suffering becomes triumph, death becomes life. The lesson of the ‘unknowing farmer’ is that the means of the kingdom must never be compromised by attempting to manipulate the ends” (Myers, p. 181).

Jesus’ revolutionary organic way of resisting the powers of the world is hard. It doesn’t make sense. When we see injustice we want to do something about it NOW! We don’t want to wait for the seed to grow.

But Jesus is saying that the who we are is reflected in what we do. We are being asked to live the future that God has planned for us. Not to allow the destructive policies of principalities and powers that govern the world to determine how we live. But that God’s way of love and forgiveness may seem like weakness. But, in fact, is the strongest force the world has seen.

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