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Worship Service Message

June 16, 2024
4th Sunday after Pentecost

God’s Kingdom Is like Someone Who Scatters Seed

Mark 4:26-34

Rev. Dr. Jaegil Lee

The Kingdom of God!  The Kingdom of God . . . Can you believe we are talking about the “Kingdom of God”?


Unfortunately, the Kingdom of God has become just words for us. But let’s wake up and realize the astonishing truth that we are discussing the “Kingdom of God.” 


Let’s take a moment to really acknowledge the sacredness of what we are speaking about, that is, the “Kingdom of God.”  Yes, the “Kingdom of God!”


You know what? That is not all. Our Lord Jesus’ parable is not only about the Kingdom of God, but also about our sacred task for and within the Kingdom of God. 


Jesus didn’t merely explain what the Kingdom of God is.  Rather, his parable points out that the Kingdom of God is deeply concerned with human actions. In fact, many of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God being with phrases like, “The Kingdom of God is as if someone….” or “The Kingdom of God is like someone…” 


In today’s first parable, which we will focus on, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.” 


So, paradoxically, the Kingdom of God concerns not just God, but more so human beings. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is not for God’s own sake, but for us, human beings. God doesn’t need God’s Kingdom, but it is we who are in desperate need of it. 


Yet, ironically, when God desires to give it to us we humans almost have no interest in it. While Jesus bids us, “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” we often seek it the least. We are lost in the world of matter and have forgotten why we are here. 


There are many parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God because one parable cannot convey all the different aspects of the Kingdom of God. Since I have delivered a message on the parable of the Mustard Seed a couple of years ago, as already mentioned, today we will continue to briefly explore the first parable, for which I don’t know what title we can give. 


What is so evident in the parable is that for the Kingdom of God to be sown and grow, someone is needed to scatter the seed, the divine seed, on the ground. Someone must take action to scatter the divine seed. Someone must be dedicated to scattering the divine seed. Someone must embrace scattering the divine seed as one’s sacred task. 


The task of someone is simply to scatter the divine seed. That person is not accountable for the sprouting and growing of the divine seed. This is suggested as the parable states, “someone would scatter seed on the ground and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.” 


Who is that someone? It is we, you and I! Two thousand years ago, Jesus scattered the seed. Now, he bids us to join him. We don’t know who we will enthusiastically receive and nurture it until it grows and bear fruit. Our task is merely to scatter the divine seed.


I find it interesting that the parable says, “Someone scatters seed,” not “sows or plants seed.” Scattering is different from planting or sowing it. As a son of a farmer, I know that. Planting or sowing seeds is done in a controlled manner. This method offers greater control over seed placement and depth, leading to more uniform germination and growth. In contrast, scattering involves spreading seeds over a larger area by hand or using a mechanical spreader. As a result, the seeds are dispersed randomly, as precise placement of seeds is not as critical.  


From my understanding, scattering implies that when we spread seeds, we don’t judge the receivers, we don’t distinguish between good soil and bad soil, but we simply scatter the divine seed. We have faith in the divine seed and the ground. The divine seed has the capacity to sprout and grow when the ground is ready.  


When the seed falls on the ground, the parable states, “All by itself the earth produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.” 


Both English words “ground” and “earth” are translations of one Greek word, “ges.” The same word is also found in the Lord’s prayer, as it is read “Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done in ‘earth’ as it is in heaven.” In the Lord’s Prayer, “earth” is recognized as the place where the Kingdom of God comes, and God’s will be fulfilled. It is clear that in the Lord’s Prayer, as well as today’s parable from Jesus, God’s primary mission is not to take people away from earth after life, but to actualize the Kingdom of God in earth in cooperation with us, humans. 


Earth is not merely the physical soil; it represents human beings both as individuals and a community. In the Genesis creation story, humans are formed from the earth when God created human beings. And then God breathed into the lump of earth, and it finally became a living being. 


In a similar manner, the Divine seed must fall into us and sprout and grow, so that our earthiness is raised up and transformed into Christ-like human beings. 


To scatter the Divine seed, we must nurture that seed within us, allowing it to germinate, grow, and bear fruit through God alone. Only then, when our divine seed has matured and borne bear fruit, can we scatter divine seeds. 


Our fruit, new divine seeds to scatter are new acts of love, compassion, and giving. Giving our fruit through new acts of love, peace, and justice will stimulate their divine seeds within to sprout and grow. New acts of faith, hope, and love to freely give others without discrimination is our new way of scattering the divine seed.  


Let me close our time with a short poem which is a combination of lines from a book, “Talking with Angels” and my reflection on them. If you don’t remember anything because my message was confusing and yet keep a few words of this poem in your heart, that would be more than enough. 


The tallest tree cannot grow to the Kingdom of God.

The highest mountain cannot reach the Kingdom of God.

The largest eagle,

Even the mightiest wind cannot soar high enough to touch the Kingdom of God.

But the smallest human can reach it, for the Divine seed is within.


Cherish,

Nurture the Divine seed.


The entire world is waiting for the fruit 

That your divine seed sprouts, grows, bears, and scatters.


Attend to the seed.

Take good care of the seed diligently.

The Glorious One dwells within it.

The Kingdom of God depends on it. 


You are the Divine Seed. 

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