Sunday, June 14, 2015

Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed

This week, the lectionary cycles back to mustard seeds, which reminds me of a children's sermon that I preached in 2012.  I had found a jar of mustard seeds, which was so cheap that I should have bought several. 

I came up with the idea of sprouting them much too late--or so I thought.  But I wrapped them in some damp paper towels, which I kept damp.  Much to my surprise, in just 4 days, they looked like this:

It took nothing more:  not special food, not sunlight, no enriched soil.  Just cover and dampness.

I've been thinking about seeds, how tiny they are:

I've been thinking about how quickly seeds sprout with just the slightest encouragement.  We've been having luck with growing plants in pots.  We've had a good crop of tomatoes--although in future years, we should grow them in bigger pots, so that we get bigger tomatoes.  Our rosemary is lovely.  Our basil  . . . well, the basil plants give me a way to transition to my next point.

It's getting hotter, and some of our plants are looking quite wilted.  Our basil has dried to a crisp.  No more basil will be coming from that plant.  I have lovely petunias, but they don't seem to have any desire to grow up and over the edges of the planter boxes.

We might be feeling a bit wilted ourselves.  For myself, it's been a rollercoaster of a week at work.  On Wednesday, we had a special mandatory meeting for full-time faculty announced the following day.  I didn't get much sleep that night.  As I said to a colleague, "I doubt they're bringing us in to give us a bonus check."

The news announced was not as bad as it could be:  voluntary faculty separation packages.  Of course, if not enough people volunteer, the next round will be non-voluntary.  On Thursday night, I didn't get much sleep either.

There will be implications, of course.  I will be left to staff classes, whether or not people leave willingly or not.  I'm still not sleeping well.  I may not have even a mustard seed of faith.

But I have practices, and I can rely on those.  I pray for us all.  I listen to Godspell on my way to work and remind myself that I am the light of the world.  I am there to listen to everyone who needs me to have time for them.  I have tissues, should my skills as hospice chaplain for my organization be required.  I pray some more.

And then, I pray again.  I keep my little seeds of faith damp with my prayers and my tears.

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