Grow in faith together.
Grow in faith.
When you look at a seed. Would you ever imagine it would become this? Or, this, or this, or this? And maybe you’re like, of course, that is what seeds do, they’re not meant to stay like that, they’re meant to grow. Fair. But, imagine. Imagine you’re seeing a seed for the first time. Could you ever guess that this seed, less than the size of your pinky nail, would become a plant that would produce this pepper, red, bright, flavorful, so different from this. Now think about your favorite tree or flower. It too, most likely, started from a seed not so different from this one here. Maybe smaller, maybe a bit bigger, but on its own not close to revealing the depth of potential and growth laying in wait inside. Now imagine, you are this seed and within you, lays more potential than you could ever imagine. That within you, just like this seed, God has imparted infinite potential that you were meant to grow into.
In Romans 12 we read, “do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of the mind so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The greek word for transformed has a beautiful deep meaning. Its not just about transformation and change but the word itself implies a source for that change. To quote Strong’s Concordance it is, “changing form in keeping with an inner reality.” Changing form in keeping with an inner reality. When we grow in faith, when we experience transformation towards what is good, acceptable, and perfect, it is not a transformation that is foreign to us but a transformation in keeping with who and how God created us. When we grow in faith, we grow into the potential for goodness, love, and trust, that is already inside of us. Call it what you will, the image of God in which we are made, the breath of God that brought our clay vessels to life, the divine spark within each of us, that is the inner workings of our seed that holds the potential for our growth. We grow in love of God and love of neighbor, we grow in love for ourselves, we grow in trust of God, we grow in knowing forgiveness, and the potential for all of that growth is already within us.
Within you are oak trees of loving God.
Within you are peony fields of loving your neighbor.
Within you are sunflower farms of loving yourself.
Within you are towering redwoods of courage, trust, and strength.
All waiting and ready to grow into fullness.
We grow into the fullness of a potential already within us, a potential that was created by God, placed by God, and we do so together.
Friday and Saturday my girlfriend Kelly and I took a quick trip down to Nebraska City and small towns nearby to go to the Arbor Day farm and experience fall in Nebraska. As we drove along highway 2 and back roads, the rolling fields of soy and corn waiting for harvest struck me. They reminded me what I love so much about Nebraska, of hard work, of community, of love, of dedication. Someone recently shared with me that they lost a family friend who had been a farmer. A third generation farmer in rural Nebraska. He passed away about a week ago and even before then been too sick to harvest his fields. So what did that community do? They did what Nebraskans do best, they pulled together. The farmers nearby had a meeting at the co-op and divided up his acreage to harvest for him. To me that shows the best of Nebraska, the best of who we can be, and it shows the power of community. It shows why when we grow in faith we grow in faith together.
You are a seed containing the potential for infinite growth and things get in the way. For plants, flowers, and trees, there are all sorts of factors. Squirrels, bunnies, the weather and for us it is no different. Life has obstacles, life has struggles, and we need nurturing, watering, tending, and care. We need our spiritual practices of prayer, reading scripture, and meditation. We need community as we worship together, volunteer together, and serve together. We need community through our support team, whatever it looks like, oncologist, psychiatrist, physical therapist, family members, friends. We need the creative love of God, we need the forgiving and renewing love of Christ, we need the active power of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we grow into the fullness of a potential already within, a potential created by God and placed within us by God. And we do not grow alone. We grow in faith together with God, with church, with prayer, with friends, with scripture, with family, with support systems, with Christ, and with the Holy Spirit.
I want you to take a moment and close your eyes. Shrug your shoulders up, and release them. Roll your head to the left, roll head back to the right. Notice if anything feels clenched or tight, relax your jaw, relax your hands.
You are a child of God filled with infinite potential.
You were meant to grow, to grow in love, to grow in strength, to grow in trust of God, to grow in faith.
You were meant to grow in community, with support and care.
Feel what is within you, ready to grow and flourish.
Embrace community; recognize it, find it, and lean into it.
Open your eyes.
You are a beloved child of God, ready to thrive, ready to flourish, ready to grow in faith together. And together all the people say, Amen.