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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Faith like a mustard seed

When we live each day in God's love and grace, God takes us beyond the possible

This week’s Gospel lesson (Luke 17:5-10) reminds us that like a mustard seed, our faith begins small, puts down roots and grows beyond what we ever imagined possible. How does this happen? What nourishes this faith for that kind of growth?

I remember seeing a poster years ago picturing a beautiful, scenic countryside with a road winding through it. The words superimposed on the picture proclaimed: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” So it is with faith. We don’t concern ourselves with some endpoint, with having arrived. We are constantly learning, challenged and growing in our faith. All life experiences become part of our faith journey.

Sometimes our hearts open wide to the ordinary joys around us. We notice flowers growing in the most unlikely places, morning bird concerts, kind acts by strangers and other daily graces. We are grateful to the God who lavishes such gifts upon us—and our faith is nourished.

Other times our hearts are sour and our lives joyless. We complain about every little thing and our cups are half empty. Such days are part of our faith journey too. And at the end of those days we can pray using words from A New Zealand Prayer Book: “It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be. … Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.”

When we see God as an integral part of our everyday life, we know that whatever happens, good or bad, we are held in God’s tender and loving embrace. We know we can experience deepening faith and transformation through both the joyful events we embrace or the painful ones we reluctantly endure. Our faith, planted when we were washed in baptismal waters, is nurtured not only in worship, daily meditation, loving relationships and other positive experiences but also in life’s challenging and difficult times.

The God whose extravagant love surrounds us does care about every event in our day and offers an abundance of grace through those events. When we live each day in close touch with this God, our experiences become opportunities to become more of who God created us to be. And like the mustard seed, our faith grows beyond what we thought possible.


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