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“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed . . . ” –Mark 4:30–31a
With Father’s Day coming, we reflect on storytelling. Every father knows that storytelling comes with the territory. Some stories we pass on to the next generation are fairy tales—which by no means suggests they aren’t true, just because they didn’t actually happen. Most stories contain nuggets of wisdom about how the world works, what to value, and how to survive. Even stories grounded in history—“When I was a boy…”—are generally pointed in the direction of a moral lesson or useful advice.
Jesus was a storyteller, a trait he inherited from his Father, who set in motion the story of the universe. This parable echoes one Ezekiel told six centuries earlier. The star of the show is not a majestic cedar but a mustard bush: not a very elegant actor at all. The best attribute of the mustard bush is that it’s very branchy, with room enough for all the local birds to find a perch. The coming reign of God is like this: protective and useful, like a good father, without the regal airs of a monarchy. That’s a story we might hope to share.
What kind of tree, bush, shrub, or plant best describes your role in your family or community?
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