Sunday, 2 October 2016

From small things big things grow

In our fruitful meanderings over the last few weeks we have been looking at commitment and how our giving  / faith enables our structures to grow.  This is all very well and good but for these things to happen we ourselves also need to grow.  In Luke, Christ uses the mustard seed as an example of small to big (Lk 17. 5-7).  This is a perpetual journey in our lives it is not something that happens overnight.  Often we can sow seeds into the ground and nothing appears to happen for months on end, it is only when conditions are right for the seed to grow that we begin to see signs of growth and plenitude.

God has planted a seed into each and every heart as God has fashioned us in his image.  In our yearning for God we seek that presence which symbolises God in our lives.  We yearn for God in the midst of worship and we attend that worship seeking for the smallest hint of God's presence.  In seeking for that hint, the small voice that calls to us with an unending call, we are distracted by the larger needs of our selves.  In the distraction, we seek for our own comfort demanding the things that we expect rather than the things that God calls us to.  Moving into the distraction we turn our worship into a religious club that caters for our needs; by providing the servants who deliver what we want or expect rather than serving the other that calls to us.  This behaviour leads to our seeing worship and the gathering of the community as an option, one of many, that happens at a set time.  It is alright we do not have to come into community to rejoice and worship God.  Our individuality is paramount and so we become isolated from the rich source of life that feeds the seed.  This is tantamount to placing a seed on the shelve with the hope that it is going to grow without nutrition and the water of life.

Poor is our faith if it has not been nurtured or watered.

If we are to become fruitful and allow that seed that God planted to grow we need to ensure that it is fed.  It is all well and good feeding the seed with good nutrition but if it is not worked in then it is not going to do anything.  We may as well leave a lump of dry manure over the dry seed on the windowsill and still expect it to produce.  For us to work the soil and the richness that feeds us means that we actually have to commit ourselves to a lifetime of work.  Once we begin to commit ourselves to the labour that we are called into we begin to feed the seed that God has planted; we begin to work what we have been given.  The commitment though has to be full, it cannot be halfhearted.  We cannot make plans to fulfill God's promise by sitting back and belonging to a club which we attend because it gives us pleasure. We actually need to make sacrifices in our way of life to become more like Christ and reach out to the other.  Our sacrifices need to be real, not a pittance out of the corner of our pockets but something that manifests in God's presence in the world.

Once we have committed ourselves and sacrificed our lives to becoming living sacrifices to God do we start to work the soil and bring the nutrition that the seed requires to grow.  Dry soil though, however hard it is worked will not produce any crop, let alone one that will deliver 100 fold.  So we need to water that soil with the water of our lives spilled into the rich soil of God's work in us.  In giving our lives into and for the work that God has called us to we begin to bring the water that is life to the seed of hope that has been nurtured in the dry soil of our abandoned lives.  Our lives filled with happiness, sadness, wrecked by anger and frustration; Our lives which we keep to ourselves and mourn over in the stillness of the night.  It is here in our griefs, joys, frustrations, poverty, illness and health that the water of life for the seed of hope flows.  Yet, we hold it in, we encamp around it, preventing this precious resource from ever leaving us, only to find that it stagnates and queers our lives rather than the plentitudinal harvest which comes when we squander it allowing it to flow into others desperate lives.

We fail to commit ourselves whole heartedly like living sacrifices as we pray at the end of our worship.  We fail to commit ourselves to the path that God calls us along, we fail to give as the widow gave.  We see ourselves as having having cowardly spirits rather than the spirit that inspires power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1.7) and thus fail to give of ourselves to the other.  In deed I can but Lament along with Jeremiah (1.1):

How deserted lies the parish, once thronging with people! 
Once great within the Diocese, now become a widow; 
once queen among the deaneries now put to forced labour.

(Place any words you want in the verse to convey the lament for your own place)

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