Erin Haligowski, Dayton, OH
What is something you could use a little more of? More faith? More money? More talent? More time? More friends? What would having more enable you to do that you can’t do now?
A Little More
Just a couple weeks ago, at 22 years of age, singer/pianist Kodi Lee was named the winner of season 14 of America’s Got Talent. Early in the season, Kodi earned a Golden Buzzer from judge Gabrielle Union to put him directly to the live shows in a performance that went viral online (watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDPdRYF7hTQ).
Kodi Lee was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, which causes his blindness, and was diagnosed with autism at age 4. Early in life, he discovered a love of music that, according to his mom, gave him the ability to “withstand living in this world.” “Because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everyone else does. It actually saved his life, playing music.”
- What are the things Kodi has been given “more” of in order to get to where he is now?
- How does Kodi’s story help to frame your understanding of needing “more”?
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
In today’s gospel lesson, the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. Maybe with just a little more faith, they could really be good disciples, capable of all that makes up Jesus’ command to “follow me.” Maybe with just a little more faith, they could forgive others over and over and over again. Maybe with just a little more faith they could heal sickness and cast out demons like Jesus.
And then Jesus turns back to them and says, “You’ve got everything you need.” He says, “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.” In Matthew’s gospel, he says “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
So, what does it mean to have “faith the size of a mustard seed”? A mustard seed is tiny—usually about 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. That’s not very much. Surely the disciples must have that much if they have already left their homes and lives to follow Jesus.
So, perhaps the question is not whether or not we have enough faith. Perhaps our concern should instead be about how our faith, even if it is so very tiny, is shaping our lives. Do we trust God to walk with us through the storms and trials in our lives? Are we allowing our faith to shape our actions on a daily basis? Whatever challenge we face, when we walk with God, our faith is enough to do the most impossible things.
- What are the times in your life when you have wanted to ask God for a little more (or a lot more) faith?
- When is it difficult for you to follow Jesus’ example?
- How does your faith shape your actions on a day to day basis?
- Take 5 Minutes: Invite students to spread out (outside is a great option for this) and take five minutes for some one-on-one time with God. Have them use this time to listen, to pray, and to reflect on how the faith they have is more than enough. Come back together and talk about what that experience was like—Uncomfortable? Relaxing? Refreshing? Easy? Difficult?
- Invite some guests to come and talk about their life and faith with your class—some older members of the congregation, or parents, or young adults. What do they think is the most important thing for people to learn about Jesus and the church? How does their faith shape their daily lives?
Loving God, thank you for the gift of faith, even when that faith is tiny. Help us to walk with you in our daily lives and to serve others in your world. Surround us with a loving community so that we can always know that we are more than enough in your eyes. Amen.