Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”
During Ordinary Time we talk about the life of Jesus when he was a man. During Advent and Christmas we learned the stories about him as a baby. Today I told the children that Jesus walked all over the land of Israel. He walked and talked with his friends. He often talked about the Kingdom of God.
I asked the children if they had any idea what this kingdom was. One student said heaven. Another said a kingdom is for royalty like princes and princesses.
I told the children that Jesus told a story to help us understand the Kingdom of Heaven. I then read the passage from Matthew about the mustard seed. After this I handed each child a tiny mustard seed (or two, or three....it's hard to get just one!). They noticed just how tiny they were! I then showed them a photograph of a mustard bush and told them that if you plant a mustard bush it will take over your yard!
We wondered why Jesus said the Kingdom of God was like this. How something so small can become so large.
This is a lesson that has many parts that I will share over time with the children. They love to look and see the small mustard seeds. I love this lesson because not only are the mustard seeds small but so are the children! It never ceases to grow my faith when I can see first hand how something so small (a child) is part of something so big (the Kingdom of God)!
What you can do: nurture your child's love of small things. Children notice the minutia that we often miss in our hurried lives. Take the time to look at the small things with them. Talk about how God created everything, even the smallest seed or plant or animal and how amazing it is to watch it grow. Look at the night sky and observe the moon as it changes each month or how small the stars look. Taking the time to slow down and draw yourself and your child into the natural world helps to remind us what a gift God has given.