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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Faith of a mustard seed

You only need faith the size of a mustard seed...which is to say "no such thing." I mean, here's a mustard seed  it's not very big.

The thing is, as Jesus knows when he tells us this, is that "faith" isn't a "thing." Faith is a relationship. In this way, you can't see it, touch it, feel it--but you can have it or not.

Faith is more like an idea than a steroid. When you "have" faith it's like having an idea. When you go to communion and receive faith, you don't receive something you can taste or touch. Rather, you receive a relationship God has with you that changes your life...renews you, to use theological language.

I mean, let's say I have an idea that the Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl this year. Is it real? They may or may not win the Super Bowl, but I do have the idea. I do live as if it will be true...at least until they are mathematically eliminated...but I don't have anything I can show you, give you to hold, or stick in my pocket. It's just an idea...

This then is what we have when we have "faith" in God. you don't have anything you can give to someone else, or even something you can put in your pocket. What you have is a relationship that asks you live and be in that relationship. Look at this famous image Michelangelo painted about faith  See that? There's only air between them. (The hand on the right is supposed to God, and the one on the left is Adam. You can get the whole picture here.) There's nothing there to put in your pocket. Nothing to give except a desire, a hope, a promise, or what we in the theology business call "love." That reaching and striving that both God and humanity have for each other is a love that we call faith.

It's hard to talk about faith without resorting to make it some kind of steroid that improves our health, but that is not what the Bible says about faith. The reason you only need faith the size of a mustard seed is because faith has nothing to do with size, numbers, amount, or any of the standard ways of measuring things. Faith is love, faith is relationship, faith is desire, faith is hope, faith is promise...

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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