Jesus: “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.”
The community of God is like a mustard seed.
Jesus dearly loved the mustard seed.
But it is a rather confusing simile.
The wild mustard plant is a hardy weed that grows, irrepressibly, into large tangled clumps fringed with bundles of tiny yellow flowers. It is the foundational member of the brassica family. The brassicas are known to parents trying to convince children to eat something besides carbohydrates as super-vegetables. This makes them more amazing. Children are suckers for capes and alter egos. Super-vegetables are so nutrient-dense that it is worth begging or drenching them in butter to entice children or yourself to eat them. Over the centuries, people have, through selective breeding, crafted this wild wanderer into broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, bok choy, and turnip. This is the legacy of the wild mustard plant.
When we come to the communion table as communities of faith, we come within a tradition of abundant nourishment. We come expecting that there is something here that is vital. But Jesus didn’t say that the community of God was like a sacred ritual.
Jesus said the community of God is like a plant that grows along the Way that delivers a superfluity of nourishment to anyone who can recognize it.
For those who take the time to come to the table, both for ritual and for meal, the community of God is nourishing. It brings health. This is not always happiness. Just ask anyone who has ever come to the table hoping for cake and found cauliflower. Sometimes community requires patience, love, endurance, imagination, and courage. But, in return, Jesus promises nourishment.
When we gather as community at the table, expecting service, expecting prosperity, we demand that when we come with need, we are met with barns full of grain. Enough for tomorrow.
When we gather as community at the table, expecting grace, expecting nourishment, we acknowledge that when we come with need, we are met with manna. Enough for today.
Based on Credulous by Andrea Lingle