Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 (NRSV)
Verse 31He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; Verse 32it 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." Verse 33He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."
Verse 44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Verse 45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; Verse 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Verse 47"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; Verse 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. Verse 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous Verse 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Verse 51"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." Verse 52And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
Because my mother worked outside our home, most evenings found her “busy as a bee,” often in the kitchen where she would be washing dishes or preparing lunches for the next day. It was also where she prepared our favorite: homemade buns or bread. When asked, one of us kids would retrieve the small package of yeast. I often wondered how this small packet could be so important. Occasionally in her haste she would forget the yeast, and I soon learned that without yeast, the dough would not mysteriously rise and bake into the tasteful food we so loved. A small ingredient did such great things!
Yeast. Mustard seed. Plantings. Growth. Such is the kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus. The gift of the Spirit planted in us and the world does great things; forgiveness brings renewed relationships; grace grows respect; mercy gives relief; justice creates equality; stewarding creation provides a sustainable future. Such gifts bear the fruit and flavor of Jesus without which life is tasteless. Where will you “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” today? (ELW 493).
Holy Spirit, plant the seeds of God’s kingdom in us and the world so that justice, mercy, and grace may grow and bear the fruit and flavor of Jesus. Amen.