Posts Tagged With: Mustard Seed

Planting Seeds

Dear Pope Francis,

It’s spring (not that we really had much of a winter by Canadian standards). Everything is turning green, blooming, and generally looking beautiful.The spring bulbs are starting to blossom. But in order for those bulbs to bloom now, they had to be planted last fall.

This is not the first time I’ve used images of plants and seeds to describe the spiritual life, and I’m certainly not the only one in history to do so (For instance, St. Teresa of Avila talked about watering a garden). In the past few years, I’ve often been the growing and tending stage. The seeds of discerning ministry, school, and making friends, had been planted – partly out of necessity and partly by choice. Now, those seeds have bloomed. One year ago, I successfully defended my thesis and finished school. This capped off three years of new friends, new joys and challenges, and discerning where God was asking me to go next.

For a while I simply enjoyed the blooms in my spiritual garden – the joy and relief that came from finishing school, the bliss of being able to relax with friends, and the excitement and healthy dose of nerves about moving to work in ministry. But now, those blooms are fading, their memories recorded in journals and with pictures. It’s time to plant new seeds.

I don’t know exactly what seeds I’m planting; there isn’t a sign or label anywhere saying what these seeds are supposed to grow into. I think I’m planting some friendship seeds, and of course some faith and ongoing discernment seeds. But there are also some new ones, writing being the most prominent. I have no idea what exactly is going to come from any of these seeds. This is equally exciting and nerve-wracking. What if none of them grow?! the nagging voice at the back of my head asks, better to not plant them at all.

But when this voice gets too loud, I return to the mustard seed: the tiniest of the seeds grows into the largest of shrubs and provides a home to birds (Matthew 13:31-32), and having faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to tell a mountain to move (Matthew 17:20). So, ignoring the nagging little voice, I plant and care for all of the seeds, and have faith that the proper ones will grow, because “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-4), and really isn’t that what gardening is as well?

Preparing the soil,

Lauren

PS: Readers, have you either seen the fruit of prayer in your life, or are you planting some new seeds. Share below, and I’ll be sure to pray for your seeds too!

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Faith Seeds and Hope Dirt

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)Mustard Seed Faith. 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.

SproutFinally, 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,

Lauren

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