Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”
Christians often talk about their obligation to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. In this reading, however, Jesus seems to be saying we can relax and let it take care of itself. This may seem like inexcusable sloth and the result of learned helplessness in the face of an enormous task. What ever happened to lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness?
I believe this supports one of the primary ideas of this blog (and my book): The Gospels and the Old Testaments are principally concerned with describing God’s morality, not commanding our morality. In this passage, God is describing what He will do and expressly inviting us to stand down, not to get in the way, to avoid causing collateral damage (as in the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat), and that we need do nothing but be still (to quote Exodus).
This is only the first half of the Gospel reading for this week. I explored the second half, the Parable of the Mustard Seed – but as told by Matthew, in my July 20, 2017 post. That post is quickly becoming the most popular in the three-year history of this blog, threatening to overtake even provocatively entitled blogs like “Predestination” (July 25, 2017) and “Proof of God’s Existence” (April 21, 2017).
Image: The Jordan River