Singing the Song of the Kingdom
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’
Matthew 13:31-32 (NIV)
This farmer goes out one morning into the middle of his field, stoops down and plants one seed. Just one in the middle of a field? This is not a regulation way to ensure a good harvest. If his neighbours had seen him, they would have scratched their heads with astonishment at best, or hinted that maybe their neighbour needed to see a doctor. But Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like this one tiny seed, which will grow into a tree that can become large enough to be a home for the birds.
We all know that trees equal homes for birds. In the area where I live, I am surrounded by ‘bird motels,’ with suitable shelters for all sizes, shapes and preferences of our feathered friends. In spring and early summer the birds around me are ‘up with the lark’ and making music before the sun and I are up. When not busily engaged in feeding growing families throughout the spring and summer, the blackbird and the thrush belt out their melodies from the highest trees; while lower down, the robin’s got its own ditty; wrens, finches and tits are twittering, ringed doves coo and from the woods the wood pigeons croak away, always seeming to forget how their tuneless tune goes and ending in mid-phrase. But whatever God-given tune they have been given, they perch on boughs and sing out.
So back to the parable: The one seed that’s been planted is, of course, Christ (Galatians 3:16) and the tree is the kingdom. Paul tells us that God has transferred us into that kingdom of his dear Son in Colossians 1:13. So then may we, as birds in the branches of his kingdom, sing out from whatever song-sheet God has given us—whether we are melodious or just manage a croak.
Father, enable us through your Spirit to sing the song of the kingdom of love and grace, the song of forgiveness and redemption, the song of the new creation.
Study by Hilary Buck
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Local Congregational Contact: