July 24, 2020

520 Washington Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31405

The parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) is one that many of us know. It appeals to our love for the underdog; for the tales of something or someone considered small, lowly, and insignificant becoming great, powerful, and significant. Of course, our stories of underdogs are often the “rags to riches” variety and are described with words like success, wealth, and influence. In these stories, the value of the person or the institution is based on the accumulation of these things. The notion that they possess inherent value, regardless of what they attain, is either dismissed or ignored.

Jesus makes clear that this is not how the kingdom of heaven will be. For as great a tree as that tiny mustard seed can produce relative to its size, it is still just a glorified shrub. In fact, it was considered a weed and if found in a farmer’s field, would have been plucked up. And yet Jesus chooses this shrub to describe the kingdom of heaven. At the very least, this parable challenges us to think about what and how we judge the value of the people and institutions we interact with. Given Jesus’ disdain for his followers giving “the very least,” this parable should probably leave us convicted that the way we determine value in this world, in this nation, and as a church, needs to be completely turned on its head. For time and time again, in parables of gray and one time, even with a braided whip, Jesus challenged all who would listen, to live, to love, and to value one another in a radically different way.  

Grace Eckmann Imholz will sing a beautiful arrangement of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.” The exact origin and writer/singer of this song is unknown, but it was born in the fields of slavery, and was passed down over the years by countless African-Americans who sung it in faith and hope. The songs earliest known written reference was in “Spirituals Triumphant Old and New,” compiled by Edward Boatner in 1927, but it came to prominence when famed African-American contralto Marian Anderson added it to her repertoire.

Congratulations to Averil and David Brannen, on the birth of their son, Charles Anton Brannen (Charlie) on July 17 and to the very happy grandparents, First members, Carter and Steve Eagle.

The “Summer Read” for the congregation is Walter Brueggemann’s new book,  Materiality as Resistance: Five Elements for Moral Action in the Real Word . The book is available in the receptionist’s office for $11.