Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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
Sometimes potential and truth get hidden. Stories and parables are one way of showing a truth with pictures created by words. I was saddened when the time came in my life when there were no more pictures in books. The visual illustrations captured my imagination, much more so than words ever did. I would pour over illustrations as a child, seeking the deep and hidden meaning in them. I know that it made me the photographer I am today. Pictures are still important. The visual input stimulates my imagination as words cannot. Music also helps me imagine when words fail. We all have multiple ways of seeking the hidden truth and potential in our lives and God has the capacity to find the ways that we can hear and receive those truths in our lives.
The people who came to Jesus were a complex group, from every walk of life and culture. There was no common language it would seem and little common experience that would hold them together. So Jesus told them stories, using illustrations from common icons - lamps, seeds, the natural world - the every day common shared experiences. How wonderful that God in earthly form sought out ways to help people find their way, constantly using the common threads of life to weave God's tale of love and invitation.
Today, I ask God to help me use all the gifts I have been given, all the language, culture and expressive means I know to reach out in love this day. Following the example of Jesus, may we all use the obvious and hidden gifts we have to touch the lives of those around us today.