The imagery of the readings on Sunday has stayed with me. The Old Testament reading, from Ezekiel is very similar to the second parable Jesus tells in the gospel. Here is the text:

“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. ’”

This passage could easily be used as another guided meditation or story for children to act as a repetition of the parable.It is a slightly a different way for children to engage with the image and their own reactions to the Gospel. It also emphasises that growing the Kingdom of God is his work in a more active way than the story for Sunday did:

“God looked around the forest. Tall trees grew everywhere. He loved to grow them.

God looked at the tall cedars, stetching high into the sky.

God went to the very top of one of them. He looked at the very top shoots, the new ones. The were pale green and very delicate. Gently he picked the most delicate sprig and carried it home, to his greenhouse.

God planted it. He fed and watered it. He helped the new roots to stretch down into the soil. The tip he grew upwards towards the light.

At last it was ready to be planted out. God found a good spot, with rich, healthy soil and the right amount of space and sunlight. There he planted his sapling, for this is what he had grown the shoot into.

Year after year God grew the sapling. Its roots he grew deep into the earth, providing the tree with nourishment and a strong base. He grew the trunk tall and straight. The branches he grew out wide. As God grew the tree he saw how good and beautiful it was and he smiled.

As God grew the tree bigger, animals and birds came from miles around to make their homes their. It was teeming with life. People came and sat in its shade, resting their backs against the thick trunk. They watched the life in the branches and felt the life flowing from the roots to the top most shoots. In the pouring rain and the heat of the sun they sheltered there. All who inhabited the tree, the whole community felt God’s presence there. All the work he had done growing the tree had provided a place of safety, security and nourishment.

God looked at the tree and its community of life underneath it and in the branches and he smiled.”