Jesus tells two short parables in Mark 4:26-34. They’re both about seeds. In the first, seeds that grow up mysteriously overnight after a farmer has scattered them far and wide across the ground. In the second, the tiny mustard seed grows into a great shrub that then gives shade and shelter to nests of birds.
We know that Jesus did a lot of teaching through stories, perhaps because they invite us in and expand our imaginations, revealing something of God’s work beyond our understanding. The mysterious life of seeds paints the Kingdom of God as a living, growing, extravagant reality. Jesus invites us to participate in it.
This is our last lectionary podcast episode before the summer. Join us around the virtual table as we close the season with these hope-filled parables.
Last week, we explored the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Today, we look at a very different metaphor from John 15:1-8: we are called to abide in Jesus Christ, who is the true vine.
Jesus introduces this teaching by saying, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.” He follows this metaphor with four images. First, he says that if he is the vine, then the disciples are the branches that come out of the vine. Second, he tells us that the branches must bear fruit. Third, he tells us that branches that don’t bear fruit need to be pruned back. Fourth, the relationship between the branch and the vine is one of abiding. Like the branch abides in the vine, so we must abide in Jesus.
Join us as we reflect (with too many gardening metaphors!) on bearing good fruit as we are nourished in the life of God.
Jesus tells this parable about ten bridesmaids who fall asleep waiting for the wedding procession to arrive. This picks up a number of themes in Jesus’ teaching, and reflects Old Testament meditations on staying awake, being alert, and persevering in Christ. Join us around the virtual table as we talk about Matthew 25: 1-13.
What insights do you take from this parable? Please join the conversation! Add your reflections in the comments below.
This week, we look at the parable of the tenants in the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46). This is a challenging parable because Jesus uses it to speak pointedly against those who oppose him for misplaced religious reasons. This parable leads us to ask why it’s important to remember why we have been given responsibility in God’s world.
Join us around the virtual table as we reflect on what it means to bear good fruit. Please join the conversation! Add your insights in the comments below.
In this episode, we’re talking about Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard. He tells the story of a landowner who goes out to hire workers at different times during the day. When it comes time to pay them, they are shocked that the landowner pays them all the same amount. Even those who only worked an hour receive a full day’s wages.
Join us around the virtual table as we reflect on what Matthew 20:1-16 can tell us about God and about ourselves. Please join the conversation! Add your insights in the comments below.
On this episode, we’re talking about forgiveness and mercy in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. This is one of the Jesus’ most important — and most challenging — themes. Join us around the virtual table for a conversation about Matthew 18:21-35.
What have you learned about forgiveness in your life? Add your insights in the comments below.
Every week, your hosts have been sitting around the table and talking about the Bible reading for the upcoming Sunday. This week, Jesus gives a series of short metaphors that describe something of the Kingdom of Heaven: it’s like a mustard seed, yeast mixed with flour, a treasure hidden in a field, a pearl of great value, a net thrown into the sea.
Please join the conversation! You can leave your insights, questions and ideas in the comments.