Mustard seed theology

The Christian narrative is not about riches and grandeur, or success and fortune, but about searching for the small seeds of encouragement, justice and beauty.

On this Seventh Sunday after Trinity, we celebrate the last recorded service at home before we return to church and share the experience to those shielding through live-streaming.

In this Sunday’s text from Matthew’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the mustard seed. This smallest of parables is used by Jesus to demonstrate something of God’s kingdom. Jesus then offers his listeners an array of other examples of what the kingdom is like. He needs to offer a variety because this is a kingdom that no-one has seen, heard of or experienced. This kingdom is different. Alyson Peberdy shares with us a real example of a mustard seed flourishing into a large shrub. This, like many tales of compassion and courage, demonstrates that the Christian narrative is not about riches and grandeur, of success and fortune, but about searching for the small seeds of encouragement, justice and beauty. Therein lies God’s kingdom.

Please take a look at the video because in it I play out the parable of the mustard seed.  The ‘wondering’ questions at the end demonstrate how we might enter more deeply into the parable – if we are able, remembering that we cannot always enter parables although they are always open to us!

Talking of doors being open, the Eucharist will be celebrated at 8am this Sunday – hooray! Thank you for being so patient. The 10am Eucharist will be celebrated from next Sunday onwards. Here is a prayer giving thanks to God for our safe return:

Almighty God,
we praise you for the many blessings
you have given to those who worship you at home and
in your house of prayer which we know as St Michael & All Angels:
and we pray that all who seek you there may find you, and, being filled with the Holy Spirit, may become a living temple acceptable to you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Please also bring a pen for the track and trace register which we will take before the service. If you prefer, you can complete the form at home and simply give it to the welcomer at the church entrance – the narthex. There will be a plate for your offering (if you contribute to the ministry of the church without signing on to the Parish Giving Scheme). 

We will attempt to livestream the 10am Eucharist when we go back next Sunday. This means that you can watch and pray with the church family from the safety of your home. I will provide detailed instructions on how to do this, plus the possibility of ‘dialling in’ with your phone if you haven’t got computer access. More to follow!

I would like to personally thank everyone who has helped during the lockdown and those who are preparing the church for a safe welcome for private prayers and public worship. I would also like to make a special mention of those who are unable to help physically but have been praying for seeds of faith to grow and flourish. What an army you are – mustard seed growers – daring to plant and nurture. Let’s now keep the parable box open so that more people might see what the kingdom might look like.

Stay blessed,

Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.