Jesus put a parable before the crowds, 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner's servants went to him and said, "Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?" "Some enemy has done this" he answered. And the servants said, "Do you want us to go and weed it out?" But he said, "No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn." ~Matthew 13:24-27
Seeds have been a part of farming, gardening and life for thousand of years. But seeds have now become a cause of concern and worry. Across the world today, just three companies sell more than half of all seeds available. These seed companies are buying up all the smaller ones giving these giant companies total dominance. As a result diversity of crops is on a serious decline.
Worse again these companies have patents on the seeds. This means you can't use your extra seeds for next years crop. The patent on the seeds means you don't own them and so you can't use them. This forces you to buy more seed from these seed companies. For hundreds and thousands of poor farmers across the world it means they will always be in poverty with no way out
In contrast to this The Irish Seed Savers Association based in Scariff, Co.Clare, have put massive work into protecting the diversity of Irish seeds. They have seeds from every variety of vegetables, flowers, grain, potatoes and fruit trees. Their work ensures the protection of hundreds of of food crop varieties that are suitable for Irish growing conditions. Their work also ensures that big seed companies do not dominate the market.
Jesus also uses the example of seeds throughout the Gospel stories. The parable of the wheat and darnel is one of the better known ones. An equivalent of darnel today would be 'Japanese Knotweed' - no one wants this invasive plant growing in your garden. But seeds do get mixed up, just like good and evil. We are all aware how bad news dominates the headlines and the good news gets squeezed out. We must never let this happen.
Jesus reminds us both good and evil are mixed together and we have to live with both for now. It is up to every single one of us to celebrate good news, to nurture good news, to praise good news, to welcome good news and to make sure our good news and especially your good news never gets squeezed out or taken for granted.
Finally every seed is small but contains so much potential. So many good stories are small too but that should never take away from their significance. When you nurture good news, you harness the potential and great things begin to happen. This is exactly what Jesus wanted to do and encourages each of us to do the same. The place to start is not next month or next week but today.