Where is Your Mustard Seed?
Do any of you remember the Wendy's commercial from the 80's with the little old lady asking in a great big voice, "Where's the Beef?"
The idea was that other restaurants may offer lots of stuff, from bacon and applewood cheddar through to sesame seed buns... but the real question is... where's the beef?
I want to suggest to you that this is a very religious question. Here is why I think that is true, our lives, our faith, can have any number of outward trappings, we can go to church, we can buy the right things we can look the part and that will be enough; but in the end the question is, where is what matters?
In a hamburger, that is the beef,and in life, that is more like our core values... where is our faith?
Let me turn this around for a minute and look at it from the other side as well. How many of you out there have ever thought to yourself that you are not good enough? That you don't have enough skills for something?
Oh, I'm not good enough of a cook to bake pies for the supper, I am not a good enough reader to read in church, I am not pretty enough to have my photo taken...
I bet most of us think things like that all the time - and what we are saying is that we do not have enough of something to do any good.
Let me suggest to you, right from the start, what the conclusion of my sermon is going to be at the end of this service... yes you do!
You do have enough, you are good enough, and you know what... a little goes a long way.
With the Kids
Do you ever get cranky? Do you ever get angry for no reason? I have some kids who are just like that. They will all of a sudden get so mean, and argue with me, and cry, and scream and fight...
Ali and I call it the Hulk... do you know who the Hulk is? He is a normal guy who when he is angry ends up turning into a green monster....
And you know what stops the hulk, or at least stops Emily and Rachael and Peter from turning into the hulk? A snack.
Such a little thing... a few grapes, a cheese string, a granola bar... and it changes everything. Have you ever had that work for you?
Sometimes the little things we do make a big difference. We have to remember that.
NEXT WEEK - I would like you to bring in something that is very important to you. Something that you would like to say thanks to God for having in your life... it can be the thing itself, or a picture, or whatever you want...
There were these followers of Jesus, let's call them the apostles. And they wanted to be good followers. They wanted to be religious leaders. They wanted to follow in the master's footsteps.
You see this in one story where Jesus sends them out on their own to the villages and towns and asks them to heal the sick and preach the word; they are eager, they are excited, they are filled with faith... and in a little while they all come back with their tails between their legs.
Seems they did not believe in themselves enough to actually heal anyone...
Or how about the story of Peter, who is sleeping in the fishing boat one night when he sees Jesus walking along the waves toward them. He asks to be able to do that too, and Jesus tells him to step out of the boat, to trust... and he does! and it works! But... only for a minute till he realizes he is standing on water and starts to sink.
These are both stories where Jesus tells the disciples they have everything they need already, where he says to them that even a little faith would be enough to move mountains... but they don't hear that very well... they doubt it is true.
So they come to Jesus once more with a simple solution... give us more faith!
But Jesus, after looking at them for a second says.. "You don't need more faith, you need to believe in what you already have."
Even a little faith is enough... even if you have faith the size of a mustard seed... that is Jesus' favourite example... it was probably the smallest thing he can ever think of... if you have that much faith you can do amazing things.
And it is more than just saying small things matter, he is saying that we ALREADY have everything we need, that each of us are gifted, are special, are smart... and all we have to do is have the little tiny bit of belief be enough...
"And the Table will be Wide" by Jan Richardson from The Painted Prayer Book
And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.
And the arms will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts will open wide
And we will come
as children who trust there is enough.
And we will come unhindered and free.
And our aching
will be met with bread.
And our sorrow
will be met with wine.
And we will open our hands
to the feast without shame.
And we will turn
toward each other without fear.
And we will give up
our appetite for despair.
And we will taste
and know of delight.
And we will become bread
for a hungering world.
And we will become drink
for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing.
And everywhere will be the feast.
Today is Worldwide Communion. The idea behind this celebration is that when we all get together, when we all celebrate communion at the same time, we are breaking down walls that divide, we are uniting literally, millions of churches in the same act.
It sounds like a big deal; and it is. Sort of. We all do it in our own ways, in our own buildings, in our own towns... we cannot even do it with the catholics down the road though, and they cannot do it with us.
You want to see how fast religion can divide into different ideas,try to get married, or baptize a child, or take communion, in another church...
So the idea that we are all united, all working together, all in this for the good of humanity, all following God and celebrating together is, for the most part, wishful thinking.
But here is the thing.... it is a mustard seed.
What if we start to see it that way. What if we started to focus on what brings us together rather than on what divides us?
The reason we celebrate communion is to remind us that we are following in the footsteps of this rag tag group of apostles who did not believe in themselves either... We are remembering that they ate together, drank together, and took strength for the journey from that... after this last meal together they DID go out and preach, and heal, and teach, and changed the world...
So in that spirit, we are going to eat this meal together, believing that it makes a difference.
Where is Your Mustard Seed?
So having eaten together and shared in this fellowship, after having sung and prayed and listened and thought together... I invite you to go out from here in the spirit of knowing that we have enough, that each of us is enough, that we can take Jesus little faith, the size of a mustard seed, and make the world, or at least our world, a better place.
It is enough, you are enough. Believe.