Bring forth the Kingdom of God

Sunday, July 27

7-27By Steve Hatch of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

—Matthew 13:31–32 NRSV

In the mid-1980s, my faith was in crisis. I experienced what many theologians call the “dark night of the soul.” The crisis offered no resolution, and it felt like God had abandoned me. I was alone to deal with my darkness, and I felt all my pleading was fruitless. I kept asking God why this was happening, and why God wasn’t helping. The more I prayed, the more distant from God I felt.

One week amid my darkness, I went to Sunday school, where we were studying the parables. We explored the parable of the mustard seed. The author suggested one important lesson from this parable is the need to plant our seed in faith, leave it alone, and allow God to provide the germination. We must leave the seed alone and let it “die” as a seed so it can become the tree that God intended.

Instead, we sometimes dig up the seed to make sure it’s viable and still growing. That, of course, keeps it from doing exactly that…growing as God created it to do. As I heard these words I realized I never had left my issue with God. I hadn’t planted my seed with faith that God would provide the germination. That day I committed to leave my seed planted in God’s fertile soil, which would allow my faith to grow to maturity.

Prayer for Peace Master Gardener, help us cultivate rich soil where we can plant seeds of faith. With your rain and sunlight and our tools and labor, may we be co-creators with you for a healthy spirituality. Help us sow seeds of peace.

Spiritual Practice: Trees Watch the trees outside your window for a few moments. Close your eyes and meditate on Alma’s words about seeds and trees (Alma 16:152–173). If you were to plant and grow the Word of God in your heart, what tree might symbolically represent this process? Imagine a seed as it grows into a tree of life and blessing. Ask God to show you how to begin.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will pull weeds from my life, and bring them to you as a repentant bouquet. Then I will accept your grace as flowers of forgiveness.

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