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Hidden seeds growing hidden

(Is 66.18-21; Heb 12.5-7,11-13; Lk 13.22-30)

Mary Oliver was an utterly unconventional poet. She spoke constantly of death but was ablaze with the beauty of the world of nature. She spoke with hesitancy of God yet lived with constant awareness of a divine presence all around her. These convictions shine out in these extracts from her poem ‘Sometimes”.

I don’t know what God is.
I don’t know what death is…
But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement…
Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

We are children of a technological age and tend to believe that important changes happen at a frantic pace. Yet when Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God he compared it to hidden seeds growing hidden and unseen in the ground. That is just how Christianity grew; hundreds of years to spread, from Israel, to the Ancient Middle East, then Europe, then beyond. These ideas form the framework for today’s scripture readings. In an affluent but increasingly fraught Western world where Christian faith may be seen as passé and many have closed their minds and hearts to it. On the other hand, many, many converts are finding new hope and life throughout parts of Africa and Asia. This accords closely with what Isaiah foretold, “I will send fugitives to the nations…that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. (66.18-19); and what Luke proclaimed, “And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”

21 st Sunday year C1

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