Sunday, November 09, 2014

Be Uprooted

For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.  Titus 1:7-9

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”  The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”  Luke 17:5-6

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships - so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people - so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish - so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform that pain to joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world - so that you are able, with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore. (The Benedictines)

Increase our faith.  At times in the past month, some people in the news have certainly been uprooted and tested like never before.

Imagine if you were Hannah Graham or her parents.  What started as a typical Saturday night frolicking with friends in Charlottesville, ended up in tragedy.  We do not yet know how her body ended up in a remote farmyard in Albemarle County, Virginia.  In the coming weeks, we will learn through the police investigation what happened in what must have been her fearful final hours followed by weeks of anxiety for her parents.

Maybe your thoughts about increasing faith could flow to the family of Lauren Hill.  She is the 18-year old college freshman with brain cancer.  According to CBS News, “The Division III basketball game between Mount St. Joseph's and Hiriam College [on November 2] was far from ordinary, and it wasn't just because of the packed arena and the basketball luminary in attendance and the NCAA's decision to move the game forward ahead of schedule.  The game was special because of one freshman forward, number 22, Lauren Hill, who made her college basketball debut while battling an inoperable brain tumor that has given her just months left to live.”

Maybe your thoughts about increasing faith could flow to Brittany Maynard and her family.  According to the International Herald Tribune, “When Ms. Maynard was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor earlier this year, she decided to end her life on her terms. The 29-year-old moved to Oregon -- where physician-assisted suicide is legal -- and took a lethal mixture of water, sedatives and respiratory-system depressants on Saturday.  In her last days, Maynard’s decision to end her life brought right-to-die laws to the fore.”

If events like these became a part of our personal story, the tragic tales of these three young women would challenge the faith of any one of us and those we love.  We would certainly be uprooted from our comfort zone.  None of the journeys these young women were on were easy.  And maybe that is exactly the point Jesus makes.  If we had faith the size of a mustard seed, coping with tragedy like these might be easier.  Jesus himself prayed in the Garden for the cup of death to pass him by if there was any other way to redeem the world.  It did not. 
What has uprooted you and your faith?  Don’t let fear, discomfort, anger, tears or foolishness win.  Plant your roots in faith and you will cope with whatever comes your way – even if you do not understand why God send it to you. 

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