Little Things

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 — Week of Proper 2, Year One

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 966)

Psalms 119:1-24 (morning) // 12, 13, 14 (evening

Ruth 2:14-23

1 Timothy 3:1-16

Luke 13:18-30

The kingdom of God “is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” (Luke 13:19)

The kingdom of God “is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Luke 13:21)

Little things can make a big difference. Small beginnings can produce large results. Both for good and for bad.

The parable of the mustard seed is an encouraging image. It reminds us that though we may seem to be small or weak or insignificant, God uses the “mustard seed” to great effect. Small courtesies, little actions of virtue may be the springs of significant goodness. The Rule of St. Benedict speaks of the importance of “little courtesies” within the community.

The parable of the yeast is a more ambiguous and perplexing message. In the scripture, yeast is almost always a negative metaphor — a symbol for corruption or sin or evil. Leaven or yeast is old, fermented dough. It only takes a little yeast to leaven the entire measure of flour. Before the Passover the people of Israel were commanded to remove all yeast from the household. Jesus warned of the yeast of Herod and of the Pharisees. Little corruptions, white lies, small indulgences and selfish habits can have great negative impacts.

What are the little habits that corrupt and break down health and relationships?

What are the little courtesies that build up and heal the whole creation?

These little things matter.

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