In the Nest

Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32 (NRSV)

When my older children were college age, any time everyone came home I would post on Facebook: “All the birds are in the nest.” Those opportunities became more fleeting as time went by and adult life took them in opposite directions. My son the New Yorker moved to Los Angeles. Then his brother moved from Portland, Oregon to Boston. And their “baby” sister prepared to move to Japan. When we are all together, I pay attention and make memories to savor later.

This spring as Covid-19 escalated, my oldest needed to leave L.A. He could carry his work wherever he went, and so he came home – although it is not the house or even the state in which he was raised. It’s strange having him here, cooking in my kitchen, walking his dog around the block, without flying off after a day or three. It’s strange and wonderful.

Could a mustard seed actually grow into a tree? Jesus told parables that we may have to research to understand, but this one does not seem so hard. My son needed a place to land, and in this strange and strained time, we needed him too. This tree has room for all the birds in the nest.

Loving God, bring us to the day when all people have their place in your commonwealth of love. Amen.

Martha Spong About the Author
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, new from The Pilgrim Press.