Friday, May 05, 2017

Jesus? Where!?


John 10:1-10


Jesus the Good Shepherd

‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.



Reflection

So, what's with, sheep, shepherd, gate, gatekeeper, strangers, thieves, bandits, and wolves?

Jesus tried once (the first paragraph), but they didn't get it and I'm not so sure that I get it. So, Jesus tries again. Now Jesus bluntly tells them and me that he is the gate. No guessing this time.

But what does all of this have to do with Easter? Why this passage during this season of the resurrection? Someone in their ultimate wisdom decided to add this Gospel passage to our Easter readings... but why?

The previous chapter, John 9, was about the blind man that was born blind that Jesus healed. The Pharisees were checking out Jesus' healing of this blind man and got upset with the blind man's testimony and threw the blind man out of their presence.

With the passage above it's almost like I am the blind man now. Why is Jesus telling parables like this that seem so simple? But then again... it seems as if so many of us are blind to Jesus after the resurrection. So many of the early witnesses to Jesus resurrection didn't recognize him as the risen Christ. I think of last weeks Gospel about the walk on the road to Emmaus.

Do I, do you, do any of us really recognize Jesus? Am I blind to Jesus?

I say that I recognize Jesus but am I just saying that? Do I really recognize Jesus in my daily living? Do I follow him to pasture and trust him? Do I see Jesus as the resurrected One? Am I tricked by the thief and fall into sin, death and hell?

I think in this is the Easter story. Jesus died in my sin. Jesus rose victorious from my sin.

I spend too much of my life attempting to defeat sin, death and the devil. I can't defeat sin, death and the devil. Only through the gate of Jesus who defeated sin, death and the devil do I have a chance. And in this is the Easter story. If I open my eyes... if I see the gate... if I listen to the Shepherd and ignore the voice of the thief; I will be saved. Not by my action, but by the loving action and grace of God through Jesus Christ, my Gate to salvation and my Shepherd to follow into the pastures of this world.

Thanks be to God!



Prayer

Open my eyes, my ears, my nose and all of my senses to your presence, Lord Jesus. You are the gate to salvation and I will follow you into this world you have set me in knowing that you alone can lead me in life. As I live this eternal life here and now I look to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen


Sunday, April 16, 2017

“The Loudest Cry Never Heard, Yet Heard Loud and Clear” (A Tribute to my Mother-in-Law Patricia Hawkins)



“The Loudest Cry Never Heard, Yet Heard Loud and Clear”

(A Tribute to my Mother-in-Law Patricia Hawkins)

by Bill Lynch

3/16/2017





As I looked from the bottom of the bed that my mother-in-law, Pat, lie upon; I observed close family members gathered. Pat was struggling to breathe and was surely close to the end of her earthly walk. Amy, my sister-in-law had discovered a piece of paper in one of Pat’s Bibles detailing a few hymns and some scripture passages to be read at her funeral. One of those hymns was “The Old Rugged Cross.” Upon hearing this the Hospice Nurse sprung to action and found the Hymn on a phone. Before you know it a phone was laid upon Pat’s shoulder. You could see Pat barely tilt her head to hear the words and music.





The Old Rugged Cross




On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff'ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown



Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown



At his point in the song I detected Pat slipping away from this world and into the waiting arms of Jesus as her spirit eased. Did she stop breathing? I think so… but who am I to know for sure. It appeared to me that through this song Pat was letting go with all of her might of a shout that none of us could hear. But a shout that surely Pat wanted all of us to hear.



Yes, for the past year Pat had lived a voiceless life. No words from her lips. She mostly me that wide eyed scared stare that I would get in the past, like oh no, my smart ass son-in-law is here! Ever since I became Pat’s son-in-law we would have a great time of teasing. Pat was one in the family that kind of got my teasing and didn’t take it as hurtful. Speedy, Pat’s husband, would always get a kick out of it when I would tease Pat as my ol mother-in-law. But Pat hadn’t said more than a few words this past year. Yet in the midst of this hymn that she chose, I could hear the loudest shout of all to all of the people in this room at this time and to all of her family and to all who would listen.



You see Pat died on the Friday before Good Friday to the tune of “The Old Rugged Cross.” During the second verse I could hear Pat in her spirit proclaim, “Listen to this! It’s through the cross we are saved! Get it you guys!”



And then… and then… Pat slipped away as we all stood a watched and listened and some of us sang along.



So we listened, watched and sang on…



In the old rugged Cross, stain'd with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown



In Pat’s spirit I could still hear her proclaim through these words, “See! Jesus will take care of you because he came from above and came to you to live with you and to be your God. Jesus will forgive you and make you holy.” Now listen and listen carefully…



To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I'll share

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown



And there it was! The loudest shout I have ever heard from this soft, small, easy speaking lady in my life. Pat in her spirit proclaimed through the loudest shout, “I’m called away to my home far away. Follow me through the grace, the love, and the resurrection of the One who came to me and will come to you, right to and through that old rugged cross!”



Yep! I hear you Pat. I hear you loud and clear this day. Pat, thanks be to God for your voice that has returned!



As the week progressed through arrangements, funeral and burial, I couldn’t help but listen to those shouts I thought I heard. Doubt presses in. Did I hear that or not? People around me didn’t seem to hear what I heard. Maybe I didn’t hear it.  Maybe the people nearby on that Friday evening heard something else?

In the middle of the week I stopped by Pat and Speedy’s burial site. Straightened some flowers and thought about the fresh dirt on the grave. You are dust and to dust you shall return. Goes for Pat right now and definitely applies to me always. God formed me out of mud, dirt and clay and I can plan on my return. But there is more. Yes, there is more.

The cross is such a dirty thing. Dirty, sweaty and blood covered. Have you ever looked at rotten wood? Soft and dirty and moldy. All of this thought of dirt and blood and the cross. I hear the hymn once more in my mind; The Old Rugged Cross…

Maundy Thursday comes and reminds me of the command God gives to all of his disciples. We’re here to love one another. Isn’t that what Pat did with her loud cries never heard? She loved all of those present and those not present who could receive her cry. Listen… get it you guys… get the cross… there is salvation in the cross… believe!

And Good Friday comes. It’s been a week now. As I sit in a Good Friday service I glance at my watch. It was last week… at just about this same time that I heard Pat’s cry. I listen to the words telling about Jesus crucifixion. I’m guilty too! Yes, I am guilty of putting Jesus on that cross… The Old Rugged Cross. No doubt that I would have done the same thing or something worse had I been there in that same day.

Today, we have the full story. We know the facts. History recorded what happened. I remember the cries of Pat as she died. God came to save me through that Old Rugged Cross. Believe!

Now Saturday, just over a week ago it was that I saw Pat die from the foot of that nursing home bed. I think of Jesus in the tomb. Dark, silent, death. Stone cold still death. Someday my body will be stone cold. Someday I will be in that tomb, that vault, that urn. Someday is here for Pat. There is more to be said. We are called. We are called here and now to follow Jesus. Yes! I will follow Jesus to the cross and to the tomb. But there is more…

Glorious Easter Sunday. I listen to the sermon and throughout the service I think of Pat. I hear and agree with how I expect death. Yes, on Good Friday, I expect death. But God changed all of that. On Sunday as I was in the midst of death; thinking of Pat’s death just days ago, I hear that cry from the grave. Wait! Even Friday over a week ago as I was at the foot of Pat’s deathbed; I expected death! And on Good Friday I expect the death of Jesus. The death that I caused Jesus, through my sin, to suffer and die. Death and the dark tomb of the wee hours of Sunday morning. God does something that changes everything. Jesus comes to life. As I expected death, God brought life.

I think back. That’s it! Pat gave one more shout. That Friday as I watched Pat die, I expected death. But no! No! In the death I expected I actually saw life! Life because of Jesus death. Life because of Jesus suffering. Life because my sin, that Jesus became on that cross, was put to death knowing that through his death I may be made alive. Through Jesus death, Pat is made alive. Through Jesus death, all are made alive.

Did you hear that loud cry at Pat’s deathbed? Right when we expect to see death, God shows us life. Yes… that’s what I saw that Friday. That’s what I heard from a little lady that didn’t have a loud voice even in her heyday and had no voice at all this past year. I hear you Pat. And yes I believe.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Broken Branches


Micah 6:1-8
1 Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 "O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord." 6 "With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Reflection
I look out of my second floor office window and I see broken, separated branches clinging to the tree from which they have been separated. Life no longer flows to these broken branches from the source of life that the tree has to offer. Yet... these branches cling to a Y in the tree. They cling only to be blown and separated at some time. Perhaps the wind will not blow them loose and the leaves of life will no longer be present in the dead wood of the broken branches.

The broken and separated branches are witness to my thoughts on scripture. These very branches see me through the glass of the window, pondering God's meanings in scripture. Broken branches that hear my cry to God... why of Lord? What dear God would you have me do after this reflection on your Word. Broken and dead branches that hear my prayers for family, nation, friends and myself as I walk through this life. Dead branches that are there as I question what God would have me offer to him, the creator of all things.

In the passage above, God has the people witness to the mountains the controversies that God's people bring before God. Not unlike the dead and broken branches that are witness to the goodness God has freely given me. God has brought me forth from my sinfulness and given me life. God has taken me in, as an illegal alien, into his family and chosen me and marked me with the cross of Christ forever. God accepted me in my broken, dead and separated state of being and God made me wonderful in his sight.

The broken, dead, illegal alien that I am has been redeemed. What does God want from me? I see it above... God wants me to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with him and those he graciously gives to me in my life. Me... the broken... the dead... the separated branch that I see outside the window of this second floor upper room. God has saved me and requires me to love the separated, the illegal alien, the dead, the broken, the neighbor that God will give to me. In this I am deeply humbled. Yes... God has promised to graft me in to his life giving eternal life of love for all creation.

Thanks be to God that hung on that dead wood of a cross, broken wood, separated wood, yet wood that only Jesus could bring to life in his suffering, death and resurrection. God has made that dead and separated wood the symbol of the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Yes! Thanks be to God!

Prayer
Lord, lead me as I humbly do the work that you require... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Music



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rejoice and be Glad


Matthew 5:1-12
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Reflection
The squirrel came down out of the tree. One squirrel was followed by another squirrel. Both scratched on the surface of the lawn. Both squirrels were looking for some food on this warm January day. Following the squirrels closely behind was the robin. The robin? In January? Yes, the robin on this string of warm January days. Was the robin confused? Maybe but the squirrels were followed by the robin anyway. The robin scratching on the surface of the lawn in the exact locations that the squirrels had just scratched.

From my vantage point of a second floor home office; I didn't witness any food for any of these animals being brought up from the earth. Just the same, all continued in the search. Robin and both squirrels came to the earth in search of food to eat.

As disciples of Jesus, we too come to him. As disciples of Christ, we follow Jesus in search of food. We come to Jesus looking for the Word he gives to us. We listen and we take in his words. Yes, we follow Jesus away from the crowds to the mountains. We follow, we listen, we learn and we act out in the will that Jesus gives us.

It's food that we don't appear to be taking in but later through our actions the sustenance and the fruit of the food that Jesus feeds us becomes apparent in how we love those that are the crowd. Jesus feeds us the knowledge of the blessing. The blessing of those in the crowds in the foothills and the plains below the mountain.

As the squirrels come down followed by the robin to partake of some food that I cannot see. We, as Jesus' disciples, come down from the mountain to the crowds. Filled with the love of God. Fed by the fruit of love.

God blesses us as his disciples. God has made us holy and sends us to those people in the crowd, maybe the crowd itself, of which God blesses and makes holy. May we take that blessing, that being made holy, freely given to us, to those God presents to us and to the crowds.

 Yes, we come down in love for God and in love for those blessed people in the crowds that God gives to us each and every day.

Prayer
Lord, you abundantly bless those in the crowds... the poor, those in mourning, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted and the reviled. Yes... you bless them with your love and salvation. May I, being fed with your Word, go into this world and meet the people that you present to me with your love and your blessings... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Music


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's all about the Light



John 1:29-42
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, "After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God." 35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed ). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter ).

Reflection
It's not about me...
Nope... this life is not about me. It's not about how good of a Christian I am... it's not about if I have the correct interpretation of Scripture... it's not about what I think... it's not about what I do or say... it's not about how I may disgust someone else... it's not about how I bark into the wilderness... it's not about the clothes I wear... it's not about the food I eat... it's not about my self-esteem... it's not about how I think and judge other people... it's not about how I think you ought to live your life... it's not about my opinion... it's not if I'm liberal or conservative... it's not if I'm Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Baptist... it's not about me!

This life is about Someone else.  This life was given to me. I am physical and I am spiritual. God made me wonderful but it's not about me. It's all about God... it's all about Jesus. John was sent into this world to point to the Light. John was sent to point to Jesus. It's not about me or John or you or anything or anyone else. It's all about Jesus.

The Light comes into the world...
I was born into this world. God came into this world from heaven. God came to all of us as a Light to lead us to salvation in Jesus from sin, death and the devil. Without this Light we are lost forever and damned eternally to hell.

So we hear John. We look, We see. We see God's Light in Jesus and see the source is from outside ourselves yet somehow mysteriously from inside ourselves. A Light that permeates the physical and opens the spiritual. A Light that brings the Holy Spirit. A Light that comes into the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A Light that is God. Light of Light.

What are you looking for?...
I seek... I long for... I desire with all my heart this Light. This Light that will lead me and guide me and call me and gift me with all I need in order to point all the world right to this very same Light. I'm looking for what the Light would have me say or do or act. Yes... I'm looking for the Light to shine brightly through me to all the world so that all I do is to the glory of God.

Nope... it's not about me... it's about the Light!

Come and see...
Jesus... where are you staying? A cry all Christians must ask at some time, And Jesus says... "Come and see..."

So I come to see. I let the Light in as I see. I open my eyes to look out into this world. I let the Light in as I open my eyes from my own selfishness and let the Light come in so that I can see.

It's not about me or how "right" I think I am. It's not about me or how wise I think I am. It's not about my opinions or how I judge. It's not about what I think of how another person is handling their life, their religion, their decisions, their very being. Nope... it's not about me. It's the Light that shines outside of me and into me and through me.

It's about the Light that Jesus has called me to come and see.

Prayer
Jesus, as I open my eyes to see your Light may all my selfish desires be blasted away by your glory.

As I humble myself and uncurl from all of my self-righteousness to your glory. May I let your Light shine in and through me.

It's all about you after all. Lead me so that my life may reflect your Light to a dark, selfish, power-hungry, hateful world. We need the Light... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Music



Friday, September 30, 2016

Let's rekindle the fire to a fierce blaze!


2 Timothy 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Reflection
So, what's the fire in you that needs to be kindled? What gift of God do you have that needs to be tended to?

Sometimes I don't think we ever stop to think of what God wants us to do. We get so wrapped up in grace that we forget purpose. We forget that we do have work to do. We tend to leave out the work because we know that the work does not gain salvation. So, why worry about it? Why work at all?

In this passage, Paul urges Timothy and us also, to reflect on our home. Our home as in our upbringing and our home in the Church. Some of us were raised by relatives with deep Christian roots. Some of us became Christians by some other means. Some of us are still searching for Jesus our Savior standing right by our side. We all have a source of home on earth and a home in the Church.

So what? What did God call and gift us to do? For some this is an easy question to answer. I think, for most, we don't have a clue. We don't take the time to pray or even think about it. We go along in life as if life has no purpose other that to survive as comfortable as we can.

In this passage, Timothy, and we, are called to think about our call and our gifts. We are called to stop and rekindle the fire of our call and to do something about it. We are called to action. God saved us not through our works but through his grace through Jesus who calls us and gives us a purpose.

It's not for our own calling and purpose... it's for Jesus' purpose and calling. Our purpose and calling come through Jesus.

So what about grace? What about faith? We were given the grace of God through Jesus before the ages began and revealed through Jesus.

Let that light your fire of action and love! Let that put the pause in your life to pray, to listen, to respond!

It's time the fire be set ablaze in the Church. It's time to let the Holy Spirit burn with love for God and love for one another... ALL the "others"...

Thanks be to God!

Music

Prayer
Lord, I don't need any more faith that what I have. I do want more of you. Kindle your fire of purpose and of call, to action in me, that I may bring you glory... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Is Enough Enough?


Luke 17:5-10

5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7 "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, "Come here at once and take your place at the table'? 8 Would you not rather say to him, "Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, "We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!' "

Reflection

How much faith do I need? Is enough enough? If I need more, how do I get more?

It seems here that even a tiny bit of faith can do things beyond what I could ever imagine. But, who wants to plant trees in the sea?

Do I ever give a servant a break? After a hard day of work, do I burden then with more work and then tell them they'll get a break when they are done taking care of me? Am I the servant or the master? And if I'm the master; who do I think I am?

Does the slave get a thank you? The slave did the job expected... no thanks! Worthless slave!

More questions and mystery with this short passage than I can handle!

It seems that this passage is about quantity of things. Is enough enough?

Well, it depends. I can't do enough to make my keep. I can't do enough to repay God for all that God has done for me. What I do do is so much smaller than the mustard seed that it would be an embarrassing offering.

This reminds me of Cain and Abel. Cain came with gifts and Abel came with gifts to offer to God. Cain came in the pretense that he was born first and offered his gift to God knowing that he was the firstborn and thus chosen by God to be number 1 by his birth. No faith needed for Cain. Cain believed his gift would be pleasing to God because his gift was from the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. Abel came with his gifts having faith that God would accept his gift because he knew God was a good and loving God. Abel came humble before God with his gift.

God saw a little bit of faith with Abel. God saw a smugness with Cain. God liked Abel's gift because it was given in faith. (That's my twist on God's reaction... you'll have to find out from God if it's right or not... so will I)

With this reasoning... I can only think that Jesus is telling his disciples that just a tiny bit of faith is more than they can handle. And on top of that... Jesus is giving them and us this tiny bit of faith. Faith to be used. Faith to be put into action. Faith that is enough to plant that tree into the sea... but let's do something better with our faith than  that.

How about we free the slave? How about we thank the Master! How about we work with the slave in thanks to the Master for all he has done? How about we be the slave, the servant, the disciple and do what God has called us to do? How about we feed the hungry, go to the sick, visit the imprisoned, help the homeless find a home? How about we love one another and stop all the fighting and the hatred? How about we turn to our enemy and offer peace?

I begin with questions and end with questions. Begin with impossible questions to answer and end with questions that, with a little bit of faith, move us to respond with action through faith in God.

Just think... with only our little bitty tiny speck of faith in God... God responds with a faith in us that we can't even begin to quantify.

Isn't that why we respond?

It's about God... not about us!

Thanks be to God!

Music


Prayer

Lord, use me and increase my faith; today, tomorrow and forever. --- Amen