Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Participation in Nation building :A Christian responsibilityBible portion: Matthew 13:31-34
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 13:32
Jesus presents the Kingdom of Heaven as a mustard seed, a bit of yeast in dough, a hidden treasure, a pearl of great value, and a net catching fish in St.Matthew 13. Jesus here slides easily from the agricultural to the culinary to the marketplace and to the fishing trade.
While Jesus is throwing out these various images at a fast and furious pace, he’s also teaching one of the most remarkable truths that emerges from the gospel: namely, the unexpected hiddenness of the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus always made clear that the Kingdom of Heaven was going to save and rescue this world precisely by virtue of its being so very different from the powerful, flashy, showy political kingdoms that otherwise capture our attention. In fact, the Kingdom can even disappear completely the way a seed gets buried in the soil. Yet these tiny things have great effects.
The mustard seed serves as a profound reminder of the transformative power of the believer. It teaches us that with our witness, we can influence and inspire those around us. Just as the mustard seed becomes a mighty tree, our actions can grow into an unwavering force, impacting the lives of others in profound ways.
And so as bearers of God’s kingdom, we keep plugging away at activities which may look silly or meaningless to the world but that we believe contain the very seed of a new creation.
In the case of the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom is not for now a geographic spot on a map but rather it is present in any place and every place where the influence of Jesus’ living presence determines the shape of life. Wherever and whenever Jesus’ wisdom, Jesus’ life, Jesus’ words, and Jesus’ love mold the words, actions, thoughts, and life patterns of some person or group of persons, then there is where God’s kingdom is manifest.
Being firm in witness and making the Reign of God concrete in its life, the Christian community holds on to the Gospel values in shaping a society and in building the nation. The result has been the special concern for the poor and oppressed, the pouring out of love as service to the neighbour, fidelity to the rule of law to maintain the social order, respect for the nation’s constitution and the values it enshrines as well as reverence and esteem for those belonging to other faiths.
In that process, creative interaction with the liberative and the humanizing elements in the diverse traditions take place. Thus dialogue in action and fellowship among religions become actual. In this process, we need new mindsets to redesign our togetherness as a nation. These considerations are life – affirming and since life itself is of supreme value, any life-damaging or life-destroying tradition, institution, value or ideology needs to be rooted out.
Christians have to realize that participating in civic and political life is an essential expression of Christian witnessing. This will call for a faith formation that stresses and encourages participation in the civic-political life of the nation, openness to people of other faiths and promotion of human rights. We need to find new arenas for rendering effective Christian service in the process of nation building.
As members of the Christian community, it is also our responsibility to practice and, further, to promote nation building. As disciples of Christ, we reaffirm our commitment to our nation by working in solidarity with all citizens of our country to create a just and harmonious society “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, and where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”.
Father, as the mustard seed becomes a mighty tree, we pray that it grows as Christians, impacting those we interact with, using your mighty word.
Thought for the Day
Let us be like the mustard seed, continuing to plant ourselves and bloom
Rev. Thomas P. Koshy
Nazareth Mar Thoma Church, Ranni