Mark 8:17b-18 – Do you still not understand? Are your minds closed? You have eyes: can you not see? You have ears: can you not hear? Have you forgotten? (NEB)
My friend, Anne, has the reputation of being an excellent story teller. She tells her stories at the museum where she volunteers and at various group meetings. She is also on the schedule to give the children's sermons several times a year at the church where she is a member.
Even though Anne and I no longer live in the same city, we have remained friends and have kept in touch via email. Frequently, she asks me to co-author her children's sermons. Last summer when her pastor asked her to teach the children The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-19), she asked me to help. Because Anne knows that I like to read about the plants of the Bible, she asked me if I knew and could write something about the mustard seed that is unique and would help the children to remember the parable. I told her that I did, and that I would write it as a "secret message".
A few weeks before it was time to tell her story, Anne planted some mustard seeds in small containers. They grew about eight inches tall by the time that she was scheduled to give her children's sermon.
After she read The Parable of the Mustard Seed and explained its meaning to the children, she gave a plant to each child. Then she asked the children if they knew that there was a secret message hidden in the mustard plant. She encouraged them to water and nurture their plants so that the plants would bloom. Then, she taught them a new word: "cruciferous". The mustard plant is a member of the cruciferous vegetable plant family. "Cruciferous" means "cross-bearing". Anne told them that when their plants bloom, they would learn the secret message, because the blossom of the mustard plant has two long petals and two short petals that form the shape of a cross. The cross is the symbol of our faith that reminds us of the unselfish love that our Saviour has for us.
Perhaps the next time when you eat cauliflower or broccoli or any of the other cruciferous vegetables, or maybe when you spread mustard on your favourite sandwich, you'll think of The Parable of the Mustard Seed, and remember its secret message.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You show us in so many ways how much Your Son, Jesus, loved us when He died on the cross to save us from our sins. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear so that we might understand Your messages. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory" (Lyrics)