Reflection for the second Sunday after Trinity
“The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain….”
Jesus, in Mark 4:26-34.
“They are trying to fuse the idea that recovery from Covid has to be an eco recovery.” Commentator Harry Cole, of the leaders in the G7 summit.
St Melangell’s valley is looking spectacularly beautiful at the moment with the trees, hedgerows and fields full of new growth, blossom and wild flowers. This is one of the wild flower meadows here – it’s glorious!
Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are particularly appropriate as the earth here produces its bounty and brings balm to the soul in these perplexing times. The soothing and beneficial effect that nature and the countryside can have on those who are anxious or troubled is well known and Jesus, with his keen eye for images in nature and farming, reminds his hearers that growth will happen – but that it happens in stages, when the time is right. There are times when his followers have to hold on to that and to accept that, despite their best endeavours, if the time is not right then we have to trust and wait patiently until it is. That can be hard!Not seeing progress when we expect it can lead to disappointment or discouragement but also means that we have to grow spiritually, and that the faith we profess has to mature. In the reading today Jesus, exaggerating to make the point, speaks of the importance of growth and likens this to the mustard seed which “….is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 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.” (vv31,32)Recently, hopes of progress on an long-running administrative matter here have been dashed yet again and this was initially hard to bear. The words of Jesus today, the beauty in the valley and the trust that other people will play their part mean that these words also brought a different perspective:“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages….. and yet all the law of progress is that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time.” Theilhard de Chardin – who was turned into Teilhard de Chardonnay by my spellchecker!The length of time that growth and change takes has been clearly visible in the G7 summit this weekend as some of the consequences and complexities of Brexit rumble on, the so-called sausage wars amongst them. The irony of the leaders, their staff and security arriving in their polluting and individual planes, helicopters, motorcades and warships before statements were issued about the concern about climate change, the sea and the environment was also not lost. But there is always the hope of progress and growth…… though discerning when to wait and when to act quickly is not easy, as environmental activists urge that speedy responses are now imperative.The decision when to act and when to wait is not ours alone as others tasked with their own roles and responsibilities are also involved. As the clock ticks for the environment and for each of us in our own situations, the hope of progress and growth in the fruition and harvest God has for his Kingdom here on earth involves faith, humility and perseverance, regardless of what timescale his followers may perceive.
That growth is being developed in a myriad of ways, only some of them involving his church and its members. In that wider vision and in God’s timing we trust – just as God entrusts to us the stewardship of his creation and our part in enabling the growth of his Kingdom:“It’s a long way off, but to getThere takes no time and admissionIs free, if you will purge yourselfOf desire, and present yourself withYour need only and the simple offeringOf your faith, green as a leaf.”The Kingdom, by R.S.Thomas.
With my prayers; pob bendith,Christine, Guardian.