"The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch on its wings." - Jesus (Mark 4:30-32)
On the second day of orientation, in a group simulation, we all stood in a circle and took steps forward and/or backward depending on our upbringings, our opportunities, and our privilege. The final result was a tiered circle with white men on the outer rim representing the most privilege, women of color mainly in the middle, and exclusively minorities in the center. As I stood silently in the painful reality of our world, I realized how far this is from how the kingdom of God looks like.
In another session, we heard a series of real-life stories of sickness, corrupt businesses, and missed meals from individuals in slum communities. As my eyes and heart are awakened to the broken realities of our earth during orientation, my first reaction is to ignore. I don't want to know. It's inevitable. It's not my fault. Yet the more I detach myself, the more I'm pounded with the truth that this is not okay.
When I look around at my Global Urban Trek teammates, I know I'm not alone. We're a group of 20-somethings that recognize something is deeply wrong with our world. Yet that is not the end of the story. Although evil, sin, and our own depravity has torn apart humanity, as Christians we affirm the resurrection of Christ is an eternal promise that God will renew all things. This summer, we will step into the glorious restoration process and choose what Jesus chose - incarnational ministry, intentional simplicity, and radical love. We're not completely sure what we're doing, but we know why we do it - because we believe in the cross, because we believe in something greater. None of us will save the world, but for the one leper we sit with - we have brought forward another piece of the kingdom of God. Like Jesus says, the kingdom of God is like a minuscule mustard seed that grows into a mighty tree. Its roots are already at work, beautifully infiltrating and weaving into the broken ground beneath us. They are choking away oppression, cultivating for a greater justice, and pushing out hopelessness.
As we prepare to leave for our Trek cities tomorrow, we are a bunch of gardeners, students, and sinners. We are stepping alongside Christ and only looking forward because there is a mighty tree on the horizon. There is a promise of redemption. And towards that promise, that hope, we hit the ground running.
- Cia Mathew