Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke 17:5-10

17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 17:6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 17:7 "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'? 17:8 Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? 17:9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"

This is the Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you O Christ!

The Mustard Seed Magnified

Last week when I went to visit my parents, I had occasion to go down into the basement and found my old microscope that I bought at the neighborhood hobby shop when I was about 13 years old. I guess I had developed an interest (one of many!) in looking at tiny things at a fairly young age, I could not get enough of whatever we were doing in science class with microscopes. My old scope was none the worse for it's age, Mom had placed it down there in the basement (the home of most of my old hobbies and junk collections!) after cleaning up my room once I moved out of the house.

Examining something as simple as a mustard seed through a microscope opens up an entirely new world of possibilities. Could it be that Jesus, in his infinite wisdom, knew that a Mustard Seed could represent an enormous body of potential??

If you look at a Mustard Seed at just 150X magnification, the size of the seed takes on a whole new meaning! In fact, that tiny little seed looks like it's about as big around as one could hold with an adult's Arms Outstretched!! That's pretty big! However,

If you magnify the seed to 300 X it appears that it could be as big as this whole church!! This is because, as you view that little seed through the microscope, you can only view it's edge, because, in fact, even at the lowest magnification, that "little" mustard seed is SO BIG that it blocks the whole view range, and therefore, you to look at the mustard seed, you have to just get a tiny bit of its edge into the view range. So as you are looking at a tiny bit of the edge of that (now) giant seed, the greater the magnification, the flatter the edge appears. And so under great magnification, one can see the mustard seed as potentially being as big as our whole town or almost infinite!! Now we can begin to appreciate that Jesus saw beyond the obvious! Where we see limitations and smallness -- Jesus sees enormous potential!@!

But hold on there's more!

Believe Me, this is just an inkling of how big the Seed would appear if we were going to view it at 1000X or 10000X! or a Million X it's actual size!! Which brings us into either the Light Year Range of Enormity, or the Electron Microscope Range of obscurity . . . . But this is Nothing in the Sight of Almighty God and Jesus, who was with God in the Beginning of all things (see John 1:1-13).

So, why don't we believe or Trust God to do new and different and wonderful things in our lives??? Why might we not want to challenge ourselves to change anything negative or why not believe God can turn things around in the world or in our lives that are not right????

How about considering not just whatever you have thought of as God's powrer . . . why not raise that to 10X, why not 150X? How about 600X?? Or why not go all the way and think in terms of God's Power and desire to work in your life or mine as a million times XXXX, infinitely more than we ever thought or dreamed possible??!!

This little kernel of faith that jesus brought to the attention of the disciples, the mustard seed, has enormous potential!!! Think of the atom bomb, that is made from a single atom, with protons, and neutrons and electrons . . .

The greatest forces known to Man are at work in the tiniest of particles!!!!!!!!!!!! And Jesus was talking about a mustard seed, which is infinitely larger than the parts of an atom that become apparent when it is dissected. So, Jesus was providing us a Huge Example of Faith when he spoke of the Mustard Seed!

Perhaps God, in his infinite Wisdom saw that a Mustard Seed Sized Faith was actually quite large. Even the weakest little seed of faith can actually be incredibly Effective if/when it is used and exercised in the right ways.

If we were to take Jesus quite literally, just having what we would call "A little bit of faith," is really very significant in the larger or should I say SMALLER scheme of things.

This should come as an encouragement to most of us, because my guess is, that many of you do not feel adequate in faith to pray for things that come up in your life or in the life of your family members or friends, let alone in matters of the world or governments or matters of peace.

Now, consider the power of your own thought life, or A Spoken Prayer. Imagine that when the thought enters your mind, 1000's of tiny electrical impulses are generated by the chemistry of your BRAIN. And this is just the thought . . . "I should pray for Mom or I should pray for those people over in Africa, or for the man next door."

Just a Single Thought Turns into a prayer, and millions of electrons go off in your mind, could it be that one day, Scientists will find a way to measure this energy emitting from us . . . . going off into space . . . to God?? I think this is possible. Maybe it's what Jesus knew all along and his instructions have come to encourage us to exercise the faith that we are fully capable of, indeed, we have a great capacity to believe–far more than we realize!

The Prophet Habakkuk was a man of prayer, A man who was disturbed by what he saw going on around him and his nation. And so he forms a thought directed toward God: 2:1 "I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Habakkuk had a heart of concern for his nation's situation. All of us also have such thoughts, and by our very thinking of what it is that concerns us, we are not unlike Habakkuk. We are frustrated about some things, and at first, we may feel powerless to change the situation.

And yet, Jesus encourages us to exercise our Mustard Seed of Faith. And the mulberry Trees of our concern: Remember that the mulberry tree can represent anything that pops up in life, whether expected or unexpected – usially where you don't want it to grow, and it is extremely difficult to remove once it gets started groring.

But Jesus encourages us to exercise faith and not only will God's response to Your Prayer of concern remove the stubborn problems, but it will exceed your expectations. After all, planting a tree in the ocean is not physically possible, but Jesus wants us to believe in things that are not humanly obtainable. Look for abundance where there's scarcity and God will supply what you long for . . . .

Finally, see how Jesus ends his teaching with the Disciples who ask him to increase their faith. Jesus points out that faith without humility cannot be rewarded. So, Come Before God with a Humble Heart. Not so humble that you are ashamed, but with a realistic expectation that God answers the cry of his people for Justice, for deliverance, and for love. He is more than able to supply what you need for this day and His Grace is sufficient in whatever matter you may lack. So Exercise that giant sized mustard seed of faith and see how God is at work in your life and in the world.

Praise Be To God . . . Amen and Amen

Read more writings of Pastor Jon