Daily Devotion for Thursday 1st February 2024

Thursday, 1 February 2024

St Mark 4: 30 – 34

He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;  yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’  With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;  he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Reflection 

For many years we have tried to get birds to nest in our garden but sadly without success.  We’ve followed advice and placed the nesting boxes in the right place but it seems that birds are very picky.  Unless conditions are just right they will find somewhere better.  The same goes for feeding them.  Having bought a type of seed promising to attract a particular bird and hung the feeder invitingly in the garden it sat empty for months. 

So when Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a seed that grows into a tree in which the birds come and nest, my ears pricked up.  If the birds have come to nest it must be a good tree, providing good things – with access to food, where their young can develop in safety.  You can grow the tree but you can’t make the birds come and certainly not make them stay unless they want to.  They will come of their choosing – if the conditions are just right.

Most of the time we recognise what is good for us.  We wouldn’t go into a venue that makes us feel uncomfortable.  We know when we feel safe in the company of other people.  We know in which places our spirits are filled with light and our burden feels easy.  When we are in such places we know that the kingdom of God has come close.

I wonder to what extent our churches are filled with the good stuff of the kingdom of God?  When people enter do they sense that this is a place which is good for their souls  where their spirits will be fed, their bodies will be kept safe,  burdens made lighter and they can grow into maturity?  Unless that is true, we will find that people are just like the birds – they will not come.  The opposite is also true: when our churches are filled with the good things of God surely people will be glad to stay.  

Prayer

God of trees, gardens and birds
thank you for all that makes for safe places 
for people and animals in your world.
Hep us to grow churches that are filled with good things
where people can find rest for their souls
a safe space to grow
nourishment for their journey
and the joy of companionship of one another and with You.
Amen. 

 

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Camilla Veitch, Minister, Shropshire URC Pastorate 

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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