I’ve called Fort Wayne “home” for just over 4 years. We moved here Easter weekend of 2014, and it’s been a fun-filled ride ever since. One of the first things I was interested in (besides finding employment, of course) was to find a church. Our previous community had been nice to us, but the churches left much to be desired in one way or another. Friends of ours in Fort Wayne assured us that they knew “several” good churches for us to try out.
Knowing we were interested in a more liturgical experience, they took us to Trinity English for a Thursday evening service. We liked it and marveled at the beautiful architecture and stained glass. Through various connections, we even got a whole tour of the church including up to the steeple area - an interesting thing for first-time guests.
Then we didn’t come back for a while. Maybe a month or so. In the midst of unpacking and job hunting, it was lower on the ladder of importance. When we did find our way back to Trinity, though, it was the fourth week after Pentecost - the week in which we find ourselves currently! I still vividly recall Pastor Erdos’ sermon from that Thursday. The gospel centers on the parable of the mustard seed. Pastor Erdos spoke about how the kingdom of God is like this tiny, unassuming seed.
It doesn’t grow into the biggest plant in the world, but it becomes one of the largest plants in the garden (according to the parable).
He went on to explain that in this bush, this kingdom of heaven, does not fix all of the problems of the world or anything like that. This bush instead provides a place for a bird to rest.
[Jesus] told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” - Matthew 13:31-32 (Emphasis mine.)
So that birds come and perch in its branches. That’s it. It was so anticlimactic and not at all the sermon I was used to from more evangelical sermons of my college days. Seed. Bush. Bird. That’s what we’re after, he said. Cultivating a tiny seed so that it can grow and become a place for a bird to perch. There were even hand motions that went along with this, and I still know them, in case you’re interested.
Four years ago, those words struck me, and I knew I had found a church where my relationship with Jesus could flourish. A church that claimed to be trying to be a mustard seed for a bird to perch was my kind of church. My impression at the time was that Trinity knew its place in the city and that there were many, many neighboring birds around it that just needed a place to perch. And, by golly, I wanted to be part of that! I wanted to be just a branch of that mustard tree and have just one bird perch and take rest.
I don’t know what Pastor Erdos’ sermon will be this Sunday, but this is always one of my favorite parables to hear preached because it was the first sermon I encountered at Trinity English. It is now indelibly intertwined with my own story, my story that has led me to working at this church.
Trinity English has served as a mustard tree for me, and in my hard times I have perched here. I hope we continue growing to make room for more birds, and I pray that I’m lucky enough to be part of it.