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“Faith of a Mustard Seed can Uproot a tree, but can it move your Faith?” “Faith of a Mustard Seed can Uproot a tree, but can it move your Faith?”

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“Faith of a Mustard Seed can Uproot a tree, but can it move your Faith?”

Posted on Sun, Oct 6, 2013

Luke 17:5-10

September 6, 2013

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Gospel Text: Luke 17:5-10 “Faith of a Mustard Seed can Uproot a tree, but can it move your Faith?”


5 The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ 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.

7 ‘Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, “Come here at once and take your place at the table”? 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”? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 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!” ’



By looking at Facebook, listening or watching the news, or reading the newspapers I can’t imagine anyone not hearing about those being affected by the government shutdown. Most of the news programs feature one talking head after another analyzing the numbers, compared this shutdown with past shutdowns, but most often they just try to find ways of blaming the other political party for the mess. Frankly, after awhile, I found myself just feeling very let down as a citizen and feeling very confused over the whole thing.


Then I finally heard one of commentator say something that made the crisis a crisis. He said, “This crisis isn’t just about numbers, unless you are of one those federal employees and related companies suddenly desperately looking for employment, or a way to pay the bills and just a week ago the thought about being unemployed or under-employed was not a worry at all, for them, this is a crisis. The crisis becomes a crisis when you see the faces of those affected, and don’t just look at the numbers. The numbers are people; some are our neighbors, especially here in Hawaii, and they are the ones we have to look out for as a Faith Community, a Body of Christ.


On Thursday morning my heart was lifted when I read the words, “Midwestern Tradition,” in the news. For those of you who have grown up in the Midwest, you might have a visceral reaction when you hear this expression. The deeper meaning of the phrase “Midwestern Tradition” is an old term that goes back to the days when ‘people really had to look out for each other’ sometimes in order just to survive. There are some very simple reasons why people pay thousands of dollars to escape the weather in the Midwest to come to Hawaii in the winter. In around Florissant Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, about 6500 federal employees who were laid off; Most of them were employed in Federal Agriculture or defense companies. Again the numbers are staggering, but the article focused on their lives and how they were responding to suddenly being without work. Before the shutdown, the economy in that area was fairly strong, and people were beginning new lives with new jobs, new homes and a strong community. The article read, Here in the St. Louis area, churches and libraries are pulling together in what they term “Midwest tradition” to hold “shutdown survival financial planning classes” in coming weeks. The United Way is partnering with the AFL-CIO to offer union members as much as $300 of emergency financial assistance for those facing delinquent rents or mortgages, along with referrals to food pantries for children of the shutdown.”


These people had nothing to do with the crisis that was thrust upon them, yet they banded together and were creative and open minded to finding ways to help their neighbors to get through the immediate problem; even when each and every one of them had difficult problems of their own.


I am sure there are many newly stressed out people, yet after they had probably put in a full day of adjusting their lives, looking for jobs, filing for unemployment, looking for food shelters and the like, they took time out to help their neighbors. If you would have asked them if they regretted having to assist neighbors on top of their daily responsibilities, most of them would respond, “Of course not, these are my neighbors!” This is the mindset of “Midwestern Tradition.”


Sometimes it takes a real crisis, natural or humanly contrived, to bring out the best in human beings.


Of course, we all know that this altruistic behavior is not just limited to the “Midwest.” We see it in Hawaii, I have experienced in many times after earthquakes and typhoons in Japan, and in so many forms in different cultures all over the world.


(Story about bringing aid, which came from many poor congregations all working together to feed and care for the victims of the great Hanshin Earthquake)


This spirit of giving without expecting anything in return, is what Jesus is trying to teach us today. It goes very counter to the so-called “common sense” of so many people today. But in order for us to understand what Jesus is trying to teach us, we have to put our relationship with Jesus, and Jesus’ calling to us as an Easter People, into proper perspective.


We call Jesus, “King and Lord,” and this is very appropriate. Jesus came to us as King and Lord when he was just a baby, yet he was still God. He was anointed, or made known as King, when he was baptized, and through example after example he tried to help us understand that the power of love, mercy and service are the most powerful forms of expression we can ever experience, share, or make known in our world.


Even though he was the Creator of all that is good and full of joy and hope, our Lord is a SERVANT King, yet our Sovereign God.


Jesus didn’t stay in a synagogue or order a special temple or palace to be built for him to teach and rule from, as he ordered his disciples, Jesus traveled light… A pair of Birkenstocks, no iPad for Jesus, just one omnipotent and ultimate iPhone with a speed dial set to God the Father, and non-wrinkle Reyn Spooner white robe with a blue sash… That’s about it.


But what made Jesus most unique is that he was on a constant quest to visit the lost and hurting. He went to the people, ALL PEOPLE who were in pain, ashamed, hungry, blind or those just seeking the truth. Remember the woman at the well who only came out to the well when there was no one else around because she was ashamed of her past… Jesus knew her past and yet, went to her, listened to her story, accepted her and called her a Child of God. Her response was to ask to follow Jesus, but Jesus ordered her to stay and tell her story of what God had done for her. Remember the man who was possessed by a Legion of demons. After having the demons cast out, the man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus said, stay here and tell the people the story of what God has done for you. Think about the Roman Centurion, an enemy of the Jewish people, Jesus had compassion on the man granted his desire that his beloved servant would be healed. Was this the men who, after seeing Jesus die on the cross, who said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”


Jesus came as a Servant King and we are the constant object of God’s gracious and merciful service. When death was the only ending we could think of in our life journey, through His death and resurrection, we now know that our future is held in the promise of forgiveness and resurrection. When we walk through our days feeling alone and even desperate, Jesus comes to us to give us strength, hope and the faith to see the world as a gift from God, and our neighbors, whether we know their names or not, as brothers and sisters. 


When we worship we are essentially coming together as a common people of faith to give thanks for what God has done through Jesus the Christ who has given his life for our sake and rose from the dead so that we could truly see the power of God, and our future and present reality that we worship a truly Living God.


When we serve each other, just for the privilege and honor of serving those who are also the object of God’s grace and mercy, we show the world the hands of God and the living service of God. What other groups of people are moved out of faith and thanksgiving, to put our resources together to feed the hungry, learn to care for those hurting as Stephen Ministers, teach our children to respect and love each other, to create music, dance and beauty all in order to worship our Servant King who has forgiven us, redeemed us and made us a Community of Faith, a Body of Christ, a Light for all the Nations.


This is what we do… not for the recognition… just because we are thankful. Amen.  



















We are One in the Spirit, We are One in the Lord

Order of song is:

verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, verse 3, chorus, verse 4, chorus


(verse 1)


we are one in the Spirit


we are one in the Lord


we are one in the Spirit


we are one in the Lord


and we pray that all unity


may one day bes restored



 Am (C)

and they'll know we are Christians

 Em Am

by our love, by our love

 Em Am

yes, they will know we are Christians


by our love


verse 2

we will walk with each other

we will walk hand in hand

we will walk with each other

we will walk hand in hand

and together we'll spread the news

that God is in our land


verse 3

we will work with each other

we will work side by side

we will work with each other

we will work side by side

and we'll guard each one's dignity

and save each others pride


verse 4

all praise to the Father

from whom all things come

and all praise to Christ Jesus

His only Son

all praise to the Spirit,

who makes us one

   Discussion: “Faith of a Mustard Seed can Uproot a tree, but can it move your Faith?”

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