Dear Pope Francis,
I was really excited to hear my hands-down-favourite bible verse in the readings at Church on Sunday: the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32). Usually when I think of people who love a bible verse, they quote it a lot, or perhaps they have it tattooed somewhere, or written all over their daybooks, notebooks and cellphone case. I have written down lots of bible verses, especially on the inside covers of my prayer journals, but each of those quotes spoke to me in a specific time, while I was going through a particular set of spiritual events in my life.
What makes the Parable of the Mustard Seed different? Well, it’s one of the very few bible passages that pop up randomly, but I immediately connect with it. The first time I heard it was during prayer about four years ago. I was just finishing my first summer working as a camp councillor and realizing that I may be called to ministry. However, at the time I had no idea how that would happen. The response to my prayer was almost immediate: “mustard seed” and, turning to my friends, I quoted that verse almost verbatim, except that I hadn’t thought of it at any recent point before that moment. Since then, it continues to pop up over and over. Most recently it was on Sunday, when I really needed some peace for confusion I’d been feeling.
Another reason why I love this bible verse is that it doesn’t matter when it pops up in my life, it is always relevant. If there is one thing I really struggle with, it’s having faith; it’s the reason why I most frequently relate to Peter when he questions Jesus and Thomas when he asks for proof of the resurrection. This verse always reminds me that having faith isn’t a weakness; it is because of faith that God will do great things through me. It also reassures me that it doesn’t take a lot of faith. When I’ve been feeling unfaithful, it’s really nice to know that I don’t have to come back with a ten-page essay explaining why I doubted and a fifty point action plan for how I will avoid doubt in the future.
Finally, I love this passage because it reminds me that what seems small to me in this moment, can grow into something massive. In that moment four years ago when I first heard this passage in prayer I was teetering on the cusp of where God was calling me. I had ben profoundly impacted by the events of that summer, and knew that God had something in store for me. In the weeks and months that followed, I started my third year of undergrad, switched friend groups, got involved at the UPEI Chaplaincy Centre and began to seriously consider doing my M.Div. Four years later, that little tiny seed of faith that got planted has grown. I moved to go to school, and I’m almost finished of my M.Div. I have done a lot of things that four years ago sounded absolutely impossible – and all because of one little seed of faith.
The most exciting part is that I have a new seed of faith. I have been praying about next steps and discerning where I might be called. This was really stressful for a while. Not that I have any sort of definitive plan or clear knowledge of what is next, but I have hope that God is going to come through, and do something awesome. Now, I need to plant this faith seed, as tiny as it is, in hope, water it with prayer and let it grow, because I know that as it grows it will surprise and challenge me, but when it’s fully grown, it will be beautiful.
Getting my hands dirty,