He also said, "The kingdom of God is like yeast which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until it leavened the whole mass."--Q1
In the kingdom of God, a little goes a long way. The kingdom of God is small and does great things. The kingdom of God works naturally and miraculously. Its like the Tao, little is done but everything gets done, the wise man does nothing yet there is nothing that is not completed. It is the way of nature, and it is miraculous.
Before reading the Tao te Ching and the Dhammapada, i could never appreciate Jesus' parables about the kingdom of God. I knew them, memorized them at one point, but they really didn't have much meaning for me. Onward Christian Soldiers was our hymn; I guess we were going to take heaven by violence as the gospel has Jesus suggest. The idea that what we had to do was simple, simpler than simple, never occurred to us although Jesus left plenty of clues, including his descriptions of the kingdom of God.
A mustard seed just lays there and lets nature take its course; it does nothing except become what it is intended to become. Now, i've never seen a mustard tree. I doubt that it is very imposing, though it left enough of an impression on Jesus to allow him to use it as a metaphor for the kingdom. But growing quietly from almost nothing, it becomes sufficient to be useful, at least to birds. Doing by not doing.
The greatest spokespersons for all the great religions, and the small ones too, ask us to meditate. Meditation looks like doing nothing, in some kinds of meditation, one is supposed to be doing nothing. Yet this urged on the best of us as the best thing we could be doing. then we go out from this doing nothingness and do things almost as simple: feed the hungry, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless (including illegal aliens!), visit the infirm and imprisoned, comfort those who mourn, forgive the guilty, stand by the weak, be fearless for the fearful. You stand up for things that need standing up for and get out of the way of people exercising their God given freedom and pursuit of happiness. (If in the process of pursuing happiness they become oppressors of others, you go back to step one.)
If any part of the hagiography of the desert fathers and mothers is to be believed, the kingdom of god was brought to western Egypt for a time in the fourth century when solitary Christians lived with prayer, poverty and compassion and spread their influence like a leaven through the society and culture. Solitaries, i am told, are like Taoist sages, they play no role, have no purpose, do no great deeds. They just live quietly in the kingdom of God, reminding the rest of us that it is here, within us and among us, and showing by example how to live in that kingdom.
If the kingdom of God is within me
it must be smaller than a mustard seed
Well, now, that;s a thought
I am the flour that the leaven will raise
perhaps that leaven is within me too.
I can do less than i do that is contrary to the kingdom
and then i can do even less and with even less
until i have done less than i can even imagine,
and done it with nothing but the grace of god.