I’ve been thinking a lot about seeds and cultivation this past couple of weeks with the parable of the growing seed and the mustard seed (Mark 4:26-34) being part of that reflection. The parable of the growing seed is about the kingdom of God and the mustard seed parable tells how, whilst being the tiniest of seeds, it produces the biggest tree. There is an agricultural theme running though the history of Lubbesthorpe. We are building on farming land so that’s no great surprise really but since I’ve been here I’ve wondered how that story will continue and how we will become a part of it. Early on, with the farming theme influencing my thought process, I started talking of cultivating community rather than building it. Cultivating feels like it continues the farming story and it also feels more of a ‘growing’ community activity. To me cultivation is about giving something time to grow, perhaps at times it will need trimming or reshaping, cuttings may be taken and new plants grown. It may even need to die and be reseeded.
With all this in mind Jesus’ story of the growing seed really grabbed my imagination, if we are wanting to see God’s kingdom come about in Lubbesthorpe then we must firstly scatter seeds and see what will grow. A great example of this was a recent Friday night out. One of the residents had suggested we go out for a meal as a girls night out. I’d asked about 10 people quite randomly. We ended up with 6 of us. It was a great night, most people knew at least one other person beside me but other than that a bit of a blank canvas, there wasn’t an aim to the evening it was just about having fun and getting to know one another. We ended up having a great conversation around food and faith (it was the Eid festival). One girl told us about fasting as a Jain and one who had just had a go at Ramadan to support a Muslim colleague at work. We also talked about fasting through Lent in Christianity too. Different traditions, different ways of doing a communal activity that expressed our faith within our different faith traditions.
As the evening went on one lady suggested a walking group and a few days later we find that, having advertised it on Facebook, a walking group has started. From this small seed who knows what will happen, maybe a huge walking group will grow, maybe it will just be a few, maybe lifelong friendships will be forged or people may even discover faith together. Whatever it will be it was lovely to see people run with an idea and me not needing to be involved at all!
With all this, I’m left wondering is this what the kingdom of God is like?
“[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 NIV