Thursday, January 20, 2011
Lamps and Seeds
And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out 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 without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.Mark 4:21-34
It seems to me, as a child, both of my grandmothers had lamps with prisms on them. Small lamps and large ones, and I don't remember the lamps but I remember the prisms. You could pry them off, the metal attaching them being soft, and hold them up to the light. Or I would watch, transfixed as they dangled and swayed and made light and color dance all over the room. What made them move - I am not saying. I never broke one lamp or one prism, but I was pretty careful not to get caught. I knew they were someones treasure, and they were a secret treasure to me. Dancing lights in the winter, sparkling possibilities when trapped in the house during winter's raging storms. Even during a storm there was light and possibility for me in those amazing lights that seemed to be alive with capacity, hidden treasure in so small a thing.
When ever I hear the parable of the lamp and the mustard seed, I remember the small child I once was and the possibilities that opened before me. Dreams were as vast as the ocean and growing up meant I could spread my wings and fly. Grown now, I know that adults still dream but we expect a lot less. We don't try to be mustard seeds or prisms much anymore. And yet the Gospel encourages us to think big, to ask God and to know that what is impossible to people is never impossible to God.
Today, I want to open my heart and soul to God's possibilities, to the dreams of youth and the capacities of creative souls. I ask God to give me the courage to be hopeful and excited again, knowing that God's reign is of growth and potential, even in old age, even on rocky and hard soil and there is light for old lamps which have been hidden away.