A Kingdom of Branches and Nests



Jesus 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.”

                               — Mark 4:30-32


What do you think of when you imagine a KINGDOM?  A majestic king ruling over others with power and authority?  Pageantry and fast-paced spectacles?  Jesus tells a story that debunks all of these ideas of a kingdom.  For him, the kingdom of God is like a small, insignificant seed that grows into a refuge of branches and nests.  The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.

Jesus’ mustard seed kingdom tells us something about the king and the inhabitants of the kingdom.  The life of King Jesus was a mustard seed life.  His life began small and insignificant.  It ended in humiliation and a torturous death.  But then from this death, he rose to resurrected life that has grown this mustard seed kingdom to include each of us.  As the citizens of this kingdom, we can find comfort in knowing that we do not need to struggle to be MORE.  We can be ordinary and enough.  We can find a safe nest in the kingdom!


Reflect on this week’s scripture.  Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you? 

What comfort (or discomfort) do you find in Jesus’ parable when you think about vulnerability/power, hiddenness/visibility, fast/slow, extraordinary/ordinary?

Seeds are little bits of miracle! They look small and dead and yet grow into something larger and vibrant.

Find some seeds to keep by you during this study.

You don’t have to have mustard seeds, but you could. Let them remind you of the reality and the slow but continual growing of the Kingdom.

How does this parable reflect your faith journey? 

Picture YOU as a mustard seed. 

How have you grown? 

What are your faith branches and roots?  What nests do your branches hold?

This Week's Prayer:

God of the Mustard Seed Kingdom, you welcome me to your Kingdom with joy. Your love and compassion protect and shelter me. May I, too, welcome others with love and compassion.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.