Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Proper 6
2nd Sunday after Pentecost
"The Kingdom of God.........." "or Umbrella Faith"
26* And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,
27* and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.
28* The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29* But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30* And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
31* It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
32* yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
33* With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34* he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
One summer, a drought threatened the crop in a small town. On a hot and dry Sunday, the village parson told his congregation, "There isn’t anything that will save us except to pray for rain. Go home, pray, believe, and come back next Sunday ready to thank God for sending rain."
The people did as they were told and returned to church the following Sunday. But as soon as the parson saw them, he was furious.
"We can’t worship today. You do not yet believe," he said.
"But," they protested, "we prayed, and we do believe."
"Believe?" he responded. "Then where are your umbrellas?"1
"Where are your umbrellas?" The parson was reminding the people that their faith needed to be seen in some action. "Where are your umbrellas".
Our gospel lesson this morning speaks about that kind of faith and trust in God. Umbrella faith. Jesus is speaking about the kingdom of God and how that kingdom grows. It grows with faith, a unwavering faith, a faith that we cannot see or understand.
The first parable in our gospel lesson this morning deals with the kingdom of God in a way that you and I in this rural area can understand. Jesus tells a story about a farmer, any farmer. who goes out to plant his seeds into the ground. Then instead of worrying about the seeds, lets nature take its course, and the seeds grow first the blade, then the ear then the full grain in the ear.
Then the farmer goes out and harvests the fruit of the harvest. The words in the text of sleep and rise, night and day means the man didn’t do anything to the seed, but trusted in the natural order of things for he knew he could do nothing to help the seed grow.
We can understand that. No mater how much we worry about the crop, how come we pace the floor, how much we complain about the wet weather, or the dry weather,in the end we cannot do anything. We must let the natural order of things be done. Sometimes it is very difficult for us to surrender to the natural order. Sometimes we cannot let go, sometimes we get so caught up in trying to help the natural order that life become miserable for us. We become a grouch and others tend to avoid us. If we do our job of planting the seed right, the seed will do its job and eventually the harvest will be there.
Jesus is comparing the kingdom of God to this idea of a natural order in the growing of crops and the harvest.
He is saying that just as we need to surrender to the natural order in growing crops, in the kingdom of God we need to surrender to the reign or rule of God in his kingdom. The kingdom of God for Jesus was not a place on this earth, it was not a kingdom. The kingdom of God is God’s rule, is God’s reign on this earth. Jesus is saying that God’s rules his kingdom, God’s reigns not us.
The kingdom of God comes of itself. We don’t bring God’s kingdom, he does. We don’t rule, he does.
Martin Luther says: "The kingdom of God comes of itself" and our prayer, "Thy Kingdom come" is that it may come to us. It is almost blasphemous to ask people to help God to build his kingdom.