Catch!” calls the once-ler
He lets something fall.
“It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all!
Your in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back”
- VBS – Called to Care – with stories by Dr. Seuss
For creation, for the outcast, for ourselves, for our neighbor, for the world
- Truffula trees – provide home for the Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba-loots and Humming-Fish
- Once-ler represents Greed which blinds us to the goodness of nature as it is. We only see how we can use it for a profit. And only when it is too late do we recognize the value of creation.
- Seuss ends the story with hope: the last of the Truffula seeds. But it takes attention to grow again a forest of Truffula Trees, but if we pay attention the goodness that surrounded the Truffula Trees to begin with may return.
- Jesus: “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed”
- A tiny seed that grows big enough for birds to nest in its shade.
- Farmers consider mustard a noxious weed
- Patches of yellow flowers in the middle of the oats. It would choke out the grain and we would leave it standing.
- Walking the beans – bulling out volunteer corn and mustard (broad leaf like corn & beans)
- But it always comes back the next year
- The kingdom of God will just keep spreading – and nothing can stop it.
- But there is a danger with weeds – especially when they grow in the church and try to choke out the sincere efforts of people doing their best to follow Jesus and do the ministry to which he call the church
- Criticism, negative thinking, nit-picking, spreading rumors, bullying, self-centeredness
- Among the works of the flesh from Galatians: enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, and envy
- These weed grow when we focus on ourselves – when church is about gaining benefits for ourselves rather than opening ourselves to God to become channels for God’s grace and love for others.
- These kind of weeds can kill
- But what Jesus says is a word of promise for the church
- Fearful picture of the church’s future
- Killing weeds are too prevalent
- Fewer people at worship
- 34% of those under thirty answer “none”
- We think that it’s up to us, and we see our work as keeping up the institution of the church, the way we think it should be, and when it doesn’t happen as we think it should, we fall into despair.
- The church of the future may look very different – and we may hardly recognize it as the church.
- Not tied to a building or being a member of a congregation
- But responding to the call of God to care for creation and the neighbor in need and for peace and justice in the world
- Small groups where people nurture one another – over a shared meal, in a circle of prayer,
- Not building up an institution but spreading the news of God’s love, and drawing people into living so that God grace and the abundant life God wants for all creation happens.
- Jesus’ promise is that the church will survive, though the human institutions we think of as the ‘church’ may change radically.
- Maybe the kingdom of God is like a weed you can’t get rid of – like dandelions
- Fearful picture of the church’s future
Poem by Joseph Langland
[He describes the effort of the whole community to keep lawns clear of dandelions, and then concludes:]
When the view from the porch was purely our own,
Not a yellow head on the verdant sheen,
We gathered praises from houses and barns,
Being godly and clean.
Yet out in the pastures and barley fields
They gleamed in a thousand beds of gold,
And after a week rose up in a cloud
. . .
and sailed into silvery mats on our lawn.
Thing is: you just can’t stop the kingdom of God from growing in ways that are way beyond our control
- As British writer G K Chesterton once wrote: “Christianity has died many times and risen again, for it has a god who knows the way out of the grave.”
So, scatter the seeds, commit random acts of love and grace, and see what God can do through you, so that the kingdom of God – not the church as we imagine it – but the kingdom of God can take root and grow and reach out with grace and love for the whole world. AMEN.