I’ve never seen a mustard seed but on this too-warm, overcast Christmas morning in Santa Fe, I find myself remembering when I first heard the parable. I understood what it meant. As a child, I planted seeds every spring and knew how likely it was that, when I forgot to water them, they would never spring from the dry earth. I’m not sure any of them every bloomed. But in the parable, I knew water was at least a possibility.
This morning I’m remembering how some seeds from the gospel sprang in my son Will’s mind and grew into the fertile bloom of his baptism, which he asked for shortly before he was sent to jail years ago, a horror that broke him; and I know those same seeds are also growing in me as I begin to devote my efforts to prison reform and the relief of the homeless—torments Will endued on his last Christmas on this earth.
I am not alone in witnessing the miraculous growth of tiny seeds. Somewhere in every Sunday service, I find a few words that speak directly to me in the midst of a great deal that doesn’t. And as a big crowd of my friends gathered here last night to celebrate Christmas Eve with Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, some coming with cold hands and cheeks from walking along Canyon Road to see the farolitos, I knew that one of the seeds, for me, is the love of these friends, some known for years, others new to me.
In the midst of life, we are in death—but there is always the presence of the mustard seed.