His students said to him,
Tell us about this kingdom
of yours in the heavens.
What is it like?
Yeshua answered them,
“Let me compare it to a mustard seed,
the smallest of all the seeds.
When it falls on prepared ground,
it grows into a great tree capable of
sheltering the birds of the sky.”
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
How can I prepare the ground?
Haunting, is it not,
to rip away the tattered leaves and
dead, twinning roots,
brush aside the ant and slug,
and run fingers into mystery
until fingernails are caked.
But then, after all this effort,
the bird drops a single seed in a
the tiny hint of a tree
that will, in its perfectly
open its arms for the same bird’s weary body.
Is this not the Kingdom come
Journey through Logos:
The smallest of seeds are planted every day, and if the soil is prepared, we hope to see that small, curling bit of green emerge. But I sometimes wonder if the preparation is any different from the “careless, intuitive, random” generosity of nature. Perhaps the emphasis in the logion above is less about the prepared soil here than about the ability to accept the grace of the small seed.
All day long, I watch them come to the feeder—nuthatch and chickadee, various thrush and black-eyed towhee. Seeds fly all over, some consumed, some given to the wind. In the breezy rain today, some of that seed is germinating beneath the feeder, and I suspect, somewhere in my moss-covered wood or out in the back pasture, seed has been dropped and is even now taking root. The mustard is an invasive plant, though; it generally is not content to create a single tree standing alone in a carefully prepared agricultural field—it spreads rapidly and is more difficult to root out than our Scotch Broom here in the Pacific Northwest. It takes over, and becomes the dominant energy in the field.
So how does a small seed of consciousness bloom in ourselves? We might never have realized how the ground was prepared to receive that awakening, but one thing is assured: we will be changed, the mustard seed disturbing the neat rows and carefully polite lines of cultural conditioning until we can throw open our arms to all, even the stranger brought to us on the wing.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
External nature is only internal nature writ large
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
It is feeling that is the life, the strength, the vitality, without which no amount of intellectual activity can reach God.
As you consider your faith today, can you pinpoint ways you prepare the ground for interior growth? Or does your faith seem, instead, to have existed in a random way, sprung up from little seeds gifted to you by life? Do your spiritual practices start faith or do they come out of faith? This is often a grace-filled question to ask.
To Find is to allow ourselves to be gifted with the smallest seeds of the great Tree of Life.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: