“It Grows and Becomes” Rev. Stuart C. Buisch Mark 4:30-41

How do we talk about God’s Kingdom? Jesus says what’s a good image? An image that will
sell, engage the person on the street, in the hospital, in the field, at the office? What is our goal?
Understanding, encounter or belief? Harv a few weeks back used the word kindom. This
spelling is being used by those who are rejecting the idea of a king, a monarch or perhaps even
more a divinely appointed family, blood line. Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not for special
families only although there was a period of church history that seemed that way. Jesus asks a
really good question, how do I explain it and not mansplain it. How do you make God’s ways
clear to others?

First, we see Jesus using in the word ‘consider’. Faith is indeed about considering. Stop a
moment and think about this. In the sermon on the mount talking about worrying Jesus says,
consider the lilies of the field, they neither spin nor wear themselves out with work, yet they are
more beautiful than Solomon in all his regal glory and outfits. A king compares to us but
unfavorably.

Jesus points out one of the smallest seeds on earth – the mustard seed. In terms of size it is
insignificant. Size doesn’t matter, Jesus is saying. That tiny seed can provide shelter for birds in
the air when it grows. Faith doesn’t have to be great, significant. It does need to be present. The
mustard plant doesn’t grow without seeds. Faith does need to be alive. The seed has to
germinate. Faith isn’t confined to the individual. The mustard seed became hospitable to other
parts of God’s creation. Birds in the air find a home. Faith should provide a safe place for
others.


Those are interesting words in a generation where Buddhists are killing Muslims in Asia.
Christians are killing extremists around the globe; Muslims are kidnapping girls for wives; and
the list can go on. Is it possible to ask of a faith tradition, ‘what have you done for someone else
recently?’ How would you answer that question from your own faith? It is also strange to
sometimes meet people who talk a great line of faith but have seemingly never received that love
of God for themselves. They have never accepted that like Christ they are beloved by God. They
are so busy racing around letting everyone else know that Jesus died for them that they aren’t
living in the grace and truth of their loveliness in God. I am not sure it is possible to have a
welcoming faith for others if that faith in God has not welcomed our own souls deep within.

Mark proceeds to tell a most amazing and close up view of another part of the Jesus story.
Several gospels tell about Jesus stilling the storm but only Mark points out that Jesus is asleep in
the midst of the winds and waves, even gale force, with his head on a pillow. There is no
question for anyone who is a public speaker, someone who works in the healing arts, someone
who works in the field of persuasion that such work while not necessarily back breaking, it is
exhausting. Moreover, Jesus is convinced of the truth of what he says and must be baffled by the
lack of belief in his words and acts. Just as much as he is heartened or grateful for those who do
believe.


The disciples have to wake Jesus. The two different questions out of the mouths of the disciples
and Jesus are interesting to look at together. The disciples ask, ‘Don’t you care, teacher, that we
are drowning?’ and Jesus asks, ‘Why are you frightened? Don’t you have faith yet?’

These questions point to the different worldviews present between our Lord Jesus and us. Jesus
knows the end of the story. Jesus has faith. Jesus is also human and therefore sleepy. This
account should give us great courage and hope. We too can be exhausted but there is no need in
the presence of God to be frightened – not because its not life threatening or dangerous - but
because that which really matters, our souls, are safe in God.

Then the disciples ask the best question, ‘who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’

That is the ultimate question for us and for those around us. Who is this? If he is our savior and
Lord then indeed we do not need to be afraid. Our souls are kept in grace and with God. If
however this Jesus is just a great story-teller with a couple of magic tricks up his sleeve we have
every reason to be afraid. If Jesus is the source of our faith and life: wind, waves, pandemics,
floods etc need not terrify us. But Jesus also dealt with the storm. Jesus didn’t say I am the Son
of God and the Son of Man I can ignore this. So also we are called to use the faith, the size of a
mustard seed. We have no excuse to say, I don’t have enough faith. We only need a little bit but
we must believe that that little bit is enough. Enough is a key word to faith. Enough faith says
whatever happens God will get us through this to the other side. Maybe the other side is a quiet
lake, gale force winds still again and maybe the other side is out of this world where ‘real life jes
begins.’ In the name of Almighty God, Incarnate Christ and ever present Wind of God, amen.

Most Holy One, Unite us for your grace and glory...

Pain-bearing Christ, receive our pain and transform it ...

Spirit of the Living God, blow into our sails to do your will...