Daily Reflection
October 26th, 1999
Carolyn Comeaux Meeks
Grants Administration Office
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Romans 8:18-25
Psalm 126:1-6
Luke 13:8-21

Jesus, here you tell me that the Real World (“the kingdom of God”) is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a shrub and provides nurturing shelter for creatures.  I envision a farmer—someone like my dad, or my neighbor, in a backyard garden—who knows the outcome, sees the possibilities.  Even though a seed, to the unknowing, is just a minuscule bit of matter, to the farmer it is potency, it is potential, and it is the future for a barren bit of ground.

You tell me this parable.  It’s about a kind of quiet, transforming power that’s not obvious at the outset; it’s about hidden growth over time; its end result is life-sustaining shelter for loved creatures.  I get it.

And then you tell me the same story again.  This time, you tell me that the Real World is like a tiny bit of yeast that grows in an inert lump of dough.  I envision a breadmaker—someone like my mom the great chef, or my friend Alice who still makes bread the old-fashioned way, sans machines.  Again, she knows the potential.   She kneads the dough, and then turns to go about her other many tasks in life, most of them routine and mundane.  Lo and behold, after trusting that the leaven is doing its own hidden work, she finds a transformed loaf, ready to be baked for nourishment for a hungry family horde.

Just in case I slept through the seed parable, here you make sure I “get it, and get it good.”  This time around, the divine initiator is a bit undervalued (a woman, a homemaker) and the “seed” has some negative resonances (“Beware the leaven of the Pharisees,” you say in another passage of Scripture.)

Are you daring to say that the kingdom of God—the transformation from unreal to Real—can be initiated by a supposedly "insignificant" person, an ambiguous-at-best substance?   When I think of my own life, there have been many times when this was in fact the case.  The healthiest growth in me has sometimes come about when I received a gift that I recognized as from God—not necessarily from a high and exalted place, but from an unsuspected person or circumstance.  God can come to us, as our Story says, in mangers and in still, small but potent voices.

Oh God, thanks for being both sower and seed, kneader and leaven.  Help me to fulfill the purpose for which I am still being created.  Where I am “ground” or  “cracker-dough,” move me to be open to your personal, transforming love.  Where I am “locked in” to barrenness or inertia, help me to hear the potent Word you want to speak, even when it comes through undervalued agents and in unsuspecting ways.  When I myself am given a word to speak in love or truth, help it to be grounded in Your vision, inviting myself and my community to become who we are in your sight, to grow toward the Real.  And most of the time, when I am going from task to task in this midlife point of my journey, help me to trust that the leaven you have already given is still doing its hidden and holy work.

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