Here is a version of the story used with the children today. I used the Rubelev Icon of the Holy Trinity, an icon of the Crucifixion and some black mustard seeds. The first part can be omitted (particularly for use with younger children and just the parables used.
Before we begin, let’s think about what we have heard over the last few weeks. Easter ended with Pentecost, (use picture of Pentecost- if you have one) where the disciples were so full of God’s love that they ran out onto the street to tell everyone they could meet.
Thinking about Holy Trinity (Use Icon of the Trinity) started us on Ordinary time. God is there in all the ordinary things. We thought about the love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We thought about the mystery of the Sea that teaches us about God and the waves, coming towards us like God saying “I love you, I love you, I love you”
Last week on Corpus Christi, we thought about how God’s love brought him to Earth and to his suffering. He gave us everything of himself, and we take part in this when we receive His Body and Blood in Mass.
God’s love is always coming towards us, always looking for us and we find him in the ordinary and in special times.
When we hear God say ‘I love you’ and we say ‘I love you’ back this in where the kingdom of God begins. The Church is when people who have here God say I love you and say “I love you’ back gather together, to here God and say ‘I love you’ back to him together. Store all this away in your mind, in your heart while you listen.
Close you eyes.
Jesus told lots of parables about the Kingdom of God.
Once there was a farmer. He planted some corn seeds in his field. He looked at it when it was finished. The field was brown and well dug. He checked the orchard and pruned the olive trees. The farmer slept and ate and went to bed. He got up each day and went on with other jobs. The sun shone and the rain poured down.
When the farmer returned to the field, the corn was just starting to peep through the brown soil, light green shoots. He checked for weeds and then went on with other jobs . He milked the sheep and he fed the lambs. The farmer slept and ate and went to bed. He got up each day and went on with other jobs. The sun shone and the rain poured down.
When the farmer returned to the field the corn was growing strong and tall, dark green with hints of yellow. He checked for weeds and then went on with other jobs. He put manure round the fig trees and trained the beans up poles. The farmer slept and ate and went to bed. He got up each day and went on with other jobs. The sun shone and the rain poured down.
When the farmer returned to the field the corn was growing strong and tall, golden and ripe. It was ready to harvest. The farmer got his sythe, ready to cut it all and bring it in but before he started he stopped. He stopped and looked at the field, beautiful, shiny yellow in the sun, swaying in the wind. All of this, all of this grew up from the seeds he planted. A little sun, a little rain and time. It grew and grew and at the right time it was ready. Every year it did this and every year he stood, amazed right before the harvest.
Jesus told this story.
(If you have some, give the children a mustard seed- they are very tiny and will be easily lost so if you do prayers in bed this might not be such a good idea! Open eyes for this bit.)
A gardener took a mustard seed, a tiny, tiny mustard seed.
Hold it in your hand. See how small and round it is. Careful don’t drop it.
A gardener took a seed just like this one, tiny and easily lost and planted it in the ground. Over time it grew and grew. Its branches grew thick and reached towards the sky. They grew out wide and green leaves grew. The tree (for this is what it now was) cast shade over the ground. Birds and animals came, resting in the shade and building their homes there. It protected and nourished them.
This is what the kingdom of God is like. It grows in is own time and becomes ripe in God’s time. It spreads high and wide and provides nourishment, protection and a home for those who come to it.