The Mustard Tree (In the Branches of the Vine)

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants

and puts forth large branches,

so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

Mark 4:26-34

Another one based on Sunday’s readings, to the tune ODE TO JOY.

In the arms of Christ the savior,
in the branches of the vine,
build your nest in shade and safety;
rest and shelter you shall find.
Heaven's manna you shall savor,
scattered by his hand divine:
Gather it in grace and favor;
in his Temple, rest and dine.

There is room for every sparrow
in the echo of his Word,
hawk as swift as any arrow,
ruby-throated hummingbird.
Swallows following the harrow
sing the promise they have heard:
Enter, though the gates are narrow,
when they rise to greet the Lord,

Come, the kingdom bids you enter;
come, the savior calls you in.
Come when autumn turns to winter;
come out of the storm and wind.
Here find shade from summer's swelter;
here find mercy for your sins.
Here within his heart find shelter:
Here eternal spring begins!

Female ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on nectar from scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma) By Joe Schneid, Louisville, Kentucky – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

You Hide In Everything

You hide in everything,
delighting in your play—
you disappear in anything
each time I head your way.
The siskins' outstretched wings
reveal a golden ray
lain hidden as they perch and sing,
until they fly away.

You dance away from me
whenever I draw near.
I look and look but never see;
I hush but never hear.
The wrens may seem to flee—
they fly but do not fear,
and sing unseen in every tree
and ring upon my ear.

O God in every place
and with me, touch my eyes
to see the wonders of your grace
in their mundane disguise:
as fluttering through space,
or stillness split by cries,
a feather's brush against a face,
and every bird that flies.

By photochem_PA from State College, PA, USA – Bird in a tree, CC BY 2.0,