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Tuesday, November 17

Today’s Readings: Psalm 54; Ezra 9:1-15; Matthew 17:14-21; Revelation 21:1-8

There are some passages in the Bible that are incredibly loaded in their meanings. As a result, some people love those passages and some people dislike them greatly. Take Jesus’ culminating words from today’s Gospel reading from Matthew as an example.

After chiding the disciples for their shortage of faith, Jesus is quoted as saying: “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20 from the NRSV). Folks who love the passage point to it as a vehicle of inspiration that has carried them through some of the toughest times of their lives by giving them hope that truly anything is possible. Those who dislike those words would say, “When I was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed and believed I would be cured but I’m wasn’t. I had much more faith than a mustard seed and it got me nowhere!” I’ve certainly heard both takes on the passage more than once during my eight years of ministry.

So how do I personally read this piece of Scripture?

Well, I read it with this thought in mind: my faith doesn’t necessarily alter the events that happen to me; rather, it alters the way I respond to those things that happen to me. By this I mean that my faith gives me a nearly endless supply of optimism that – no matter what happens – I’ll have the strength to see it through one way or another. Sometimes it means enduring the bad times until the good times come again. Sometimes it means having the strength to live through the difficult goodbyes and agonizing separations – believing that the loss won’t be the final word in the situation.

So how do you receive those controversial words “and nothing will be impossible for you”? Til next time…

1 comment:

betsy said...

Have you always been able to summon such optimism? I find myself moving in and out of the ability to do that. I imagine that you too have had trials to face and yet you have been able to find enough strength in your life to overcome or at least co-exist with them. I find co-existence is often tenuous, partially due to my brain chemistry. I think that community and close relationships that allow for intimate sharing -such as the covenent groups do makes a huge difference for my ability to keep on trucking. Betsy Noorzay

Ps. I hae some thoughts on a couple of contributions to tie in with Christmas--addressing the question What is Enough? i hope I remember what they are. You cna feel free to remind me. I also have a teaching story that the children might be able to act out -on this them as well. it might be nice for the Christmas season. It is based on an Afghan Folktale. Hopefully in January I will be able to be the speaker for the Lunch Bunch-to talk about Afghanistan-you might be interested in Attending if possible, if they allow men and why not? As I mentioned to Jim Hardesty I am having difficulty with my brain-so I forget most thigns that are short term memory. You can feel free to job it for me, if I forget. I sent you, I think, my raison detre for moving the library into the narthex. Let's discuss it sometime soon. Thanks, Betsy Noorzay