Sunday, October 03, 2010

"Increase our faith!"

How did I go to church all those years in the past and walk away with nothing more than a feeling that I had done what I was supposed to do?

Maybe it was the Baptist preacher style of Repent and Be Saved that kept me from hearing fully! I already knew I was saved so I didn’t feel the need to repent. For as long as I can remember, I have felt God’s abiding grace and love for me. If I heard “Increase our faith” long ago, I must have thought that I already had enough. I don’t know. I just don’t remember being that affected.

Perhaps it is the state of the world today. Maybe it is just me being older, more mature. Again, I don’t know. But what I hear now is this: Change. Act. Transform. Share the message. Share the passion. Feed my people.
In today’s Gospel reading (Luke 17:5-10), Jesus tells us that if our faith was the size of a mustard seed, still, we could tell a tree to uproot itself and plant itself in the sea and it would do so.

Right now, I am fairly disheartened at the state of things. So many people out of work, so many new people living on the streets and in shelters. So many children diagnosed with ADD, autism and all manner of other disorders. So much pollution. So much terror. So much hate and fear surrounding all people gay or lesbian. So many children dying at their own hands due to the hate and fear surrounding them.

So many people who have lost…or maybe never had…that faith the size of an itsy-bitsy mustard seed.

I think that one of the things that I never heard in all those sermons in the past was that it might be hard to live a life that demands transformation (of self…not of others). It means living on the edge…living outside of what is considered “normal”. I give thanks to God that I have never considered myself normal.

Ellen DeGeneres made a statement the other day that one gay teen suicide is tragic, four (and now there are six we know of) is an epidemic. And I agree.

What are we feeding ourselves that six boys could take their own lives in one month’s time and we cannot see this as an epidemic…as something to which we should Act…Now. Each one of these boys belonged to some mother, father, sister, brother. Each one of these children was loved by their families. Each one of these boys took his life because he was being tormented by other children who feared him. Except, the fear was acted out in hate and bullying. It is difficult to see the torment as fear when it is directed at one person by several (or many).

The mustard seed passage goes on to say that we have a place in this life. It is to plow and tend the sheep and then come in from the field and take care of the master. It is our job. It is what we are supposed to do.

Literally, we may not have a field to plow or sheep to tend. Nor do we necessarily have a “master” to whom we are a slave. Yet if we want that power of faith…so powerful that even a tiny portion can change the nature of things as we know these…if we want that faith the size of a mustard seed, we have to understand that not only do we have to take care of our daily business but we also have to take care of the business of Jesus. That business is making sure that we don’t just cry into our computers or newspapers as we read a sad story but that we work at changing that which is bound in fear.

We have to make a difference. The only way we can do that is by speaking out against fear; standing up in faith; shouting out in Love.

Today is the only day we have. Tomorrow may be too late. Another child may have died simply because he did not hear our voice saying, “It will get better.”

It will get better…IF we do something to make it better.

Change the world. It’s what we are supposed to do.