Jesus tells us: “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.” Matt 17;20
Jesus said this to the apostles in response to their plea “Lord increase our faith”. So Jesus is happy if we have even the smallest amount of faith because the mustard seed is very small indeed (1 to 2 mms in diameter). But if we truly have even this small amount of faith we can do amazing and wonderful things, because of course these things happen through the power of God. Did you ever find yourself talking about your faith, feeling that you have a deep faith and then when something painful or bad happens it feels like your faith goes out the window? You just cannot connect with it and God can seem so very far away. It is very hard to trust at these times and yet these are the times that Jesus is talking about – if we can only hold on by our fingertips, if we can hold on to the tiniest amount of trust, in spite of our doubts, God will bring us through.
We are born trusting – our parents, our care-givers – until such time as we learn, by our experiences, not to trust. And our image of God can be influenced by our experiences also, which may not help us to trust God either. Our faith is not static – we need to water the tiny seed, feed it, protect it. We can do this by prayer, by asking, like the apostles did, for an increase in faith, by truly getting to know Jesus through the Scriptures so that we can replace any unhealthy images with more life-giving ones. Just as the mustard seed grows into a tree giving shade to the birds, so will our faith and trust in God grow if we nurture it and feed it through prayer and Scripture, helping to develop roots that will sustain us through the tough times. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matt 13:32
On a final coincidental note I received a photo today from a parishioner, a member of our Bible study group. Last year after my return from a trip to the Holy Land I distributed some mustard seeds to the group and Eddie planted them. Here is the proof that they are doing well because he has nurtured them and looked after them well. Let us nurture our own seeds of faith even in these tough times. I hope this picture will inspire you to help your faith grow even a little bit each day!