June 17, 2012
Year B, Proper 6
The Rev. Dr. Brent Was
Mustard seeds… I had a Christian social ethics professor who talked about revolution and social change. She was pretty revolutionary herself, a black, lesbian Baptist preacher now in an endowed chair at Yale. She taught about mustard seeds in a class called the “Political economy of Misery.” She taught that the biggest threat to revolution, to radical change in society, to movements striving for justice was the expectation of spectacle. “Don’t expect spectacle,” she would say. She meant exactly what Jesus meant in today’s Gospel.
If we expect every march to be a million x strong; if we expect if we expect every training to be brilliant and draw a hundred converts to the cause; if we expect every reasonable and good hearted person who hears the truth we speak and teach and live and hope for to understand what you are talking about, we are going to be disappointed, disheartened, and even defeated.
Expect mustard seeds. Mustard seeds are steps to the kingdom of God. Each conversation is what counts; that is the victory. Each glimmer of hope that is sown is a blessing. Each mind opened, made even a teeny-tiny bit more aware of the moral corruption and structural violence of late stage free market capitalism, the closer we are to the promised land.
Expect mustard seeds… sow mustard seeds. This is our charge. This is what Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught His disciples. Curiously, this is what Gautama Siddhartha, the Lord Buddha taught his, too. Sow mustard seeds in your lives with others, in your work for justice, in your struggle against tyranny of all forms. We are all here people of faith. Faith in God, or some teaching or practice, we have faith in humanity or that the moral curvature of the universe does bend towards justice or simply faith that things must be, that things CAN be better than they are. In this and every merry band of people of faith, sowing the day in/day out seeds of peace and change, of revolution and justice making, not expecting spectacle but doing what needs to be done, change will come because, duh, God is on our side. AMEM