Daily Devotion for 31st January 2024

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Wednesday, 31 January 2024 
St Mark 4: 21 – 29

Jesus said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand?  For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.  Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’  And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.  For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’ He also 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.  The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’


When I was a child, my mother spotted my curious mind and creative output.  She would say, “don’t hide your light under a bushel” meaning, “don’t hide your talent”.  My young dyslexic traumatised child only heard don’t hide yourself under a bush, which, being my parents’ child was exactly what I wanted to do.  Anywhere safe.  When I came to this text as an older child in church, then as a woman studying texts in my shock of being called to the ministry, I saw things afresh and understood the nature of transparency and safety; of not keeping things hidden, perhaps even letting Jesus’ light shine into secret darkness.
My adult self puzzled more at the next verses, the clear injustice of giving a lot to those who already have and taking away things from those with little. Even with Mark’s Jesus teaching about how to ‘get’ parables in Chapter 4, it’s hard to ‘get’ this one. It could just be Jesus telling the truth of how societies work and that we’d better be ready not to hide this ugly truth, but to tell it – we humans can make life unfair.
Finally, Mark’s Jesus brings seeds, again, this time working at growing, with little human understanding of how the growing happens. This points to so much growing we simply don’t understand.  No matter how it became what it is, perhaps we’re being led to see what flourishes and to accept those as gifts to be harvested or celebrated. Did Jesus mean that?  We’re a bit like the harvester – we don’t know, but let’s go for it. The whole three message thread here could be – keep things in the light; name injustice when we see it; celebrate gifting no matter how it shows itself.   Sounds like Gospel to me.
Dear Knowing and Loving God,
We truly understand so little.
Give us grace to accept that uncomfortable truth as we seek ways to shed light into the injustice of our world, our relationship with our planet and our relationships with all of your people.
Give us trust to harvest carefully and creativity for your Gospel’s sake.
Amen and amen.


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Elizabeth Gray King is a retired URC minister.

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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