I've just been to a splendid morning of Continuing Ministerial Education focussing on Life in the Power of the Spirit. One of the sessions was from a liturgical perspective, and the speaker made the point that we too often treat the weeks between Trinity and the Kingdom Season as if they were absolutely and completely "Ordinary time"...week after week of non-descript liturgy, with little variation, little shape, nothing to mark out the Sundays as the mini Easters they should really be. He invited us instead to think about these weeks as "the season of the year" (rather than just an endless series of Sundays after Trinity or after Petecost)...and to see them as weeks of green growth.
And here we are...straight into a Sunday where seeds and sowing are at the forefront of our lections.
Always, planting a seed is an act of faith...
As he uses images from the natural world to teach us about the Kingdom, Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom (and the Church that is called to be a sign of it) is not a static institution but a living organism. In this diocese, we're invited to spend time thinking about how the local church can represent green shoots of Kingdom hope...perhaps it's time to look at the growth in your own church community...Or perhaps it's a question of inviting the congregation to see where there might be potential. Consider David, after all - the unlikely choice
"for the Lord does not see as mortals see"
God has endless confidence in our potential - for God alone sees what we, as individuals and as the church, can become with and for Him...
"All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord".
Here in the UK, we're having a difficult time politically. The credibility of our government is about as low as I can ever remember, and disturbingly right-wing views are emerging. Set all that in the context of the world recession and the need for hope becomes overwhelming, - but it can feel as if the church is failing to communicate the hope that is in us.
We want the Kingdom to come in all its realised glory - but we have to wait, and trust, and wait some more.
Time, maybe, to reconsider the mustard seed... One of my favourite passages the Oscar Romero speech that reminds us that we are "Ministers and not messiahs" encourages us to "take the long view..." because "we are guardian of a future not our own".
As we look anxiously for signs of life in our churches, those words surely offer encouragement.
What is there in your church communities that shows potential for flourishing?
Could this be the Sunday to celebrate small beginnings?
Or is it time to stir your people to action...since we are called to take part in the harvest?
Where are you heading, in this season that is green and growing?