The time in church after celebration of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit is called growing time. We use green as a worship colour.
Growing is what we do every day, bit by bit. Some of us grow up and some of us grow old. But all of us grow in some way or another. We also talk about growing in faith.
We have stories in the Bible of how people grew in their faith in God. Abraham and Sarah grew in faith and trust when they became part of a covenant with God. They moved with family, flocks and herds to new land. They were tested in their faith as they wondered over time if God was going to keep the part of the covenant about descendants. Sarah laughed.
Then there are the stories of Moses leading the people out of the land of Egypt to the promised land. If one looks on a map of the area of the wilderness and the wandering route the Israelites took, one asks why it took them 40 years to get to their destination. Well, they had to learn to trust God. They were growing in their faith, generation by generation.
Jesus’ disciples followed him as their teaching rabbi, learning and growing in their faith. They learned that true discipleship was always about growing in their relationship with God. They learned disciplines like praying and searching out folk in the margins of society in need of healing. They learned that a simple lifestyle and hospitality are part of growing and sharing their faith.
Where do you grow in your faith? Does your faith provide the good soil for growth? Do you use your faith as the foundation for making life decisions? Does your faith inform how you act every day of your life or is it reserved for Sunday only? Do your practice mercy and justice? Are you growing up in faith or are you just growing old in faith? There is a difference.
Faith needs to be used and nurtured. It needs to be able to vision as Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Paul, Priscilla, and Mary came to understand. Faith needs to move you to a new place, a new reflection of where God is active in your life today. Faith opens your eyes to the opportunities that God places in front of you.
I was watching a baby bird at the base of one of the maple trees in the front of the house. Its mother was close by. I began to mow the lawn, keeping watch on the base of the tree as I rolled by. I did not want to frighten the little fledgling. I didn’t see the little bird after finishing the lawn. I didn’t know what became of it until I saw it again today. The mother was close by to the fledgling on the ground.
I think God is like that when we start out in faith, close by and keeping us safe. We slowly take a few flights, gather strength, and learn to fly.
We pray that our minds are fresh and open to growth; we pray that we can use each new day to explore new ways to grow in faith; we pray that we are able to nurture hope and humility to trust that God is always doing a new thing. Let’s pray for eyes to see it and lives to live it. We are not alone, God is with us, thanks be to God!
A prayer shared, credit to its writer
God of new beginnings,
we are walking into mystery.
We face the future, not knowing what the days and months will bring us
or how we will respond.
Be love in us as we journey.
May we welcome all who come our way.
Deepen our faith to see all life through your eyes.
Fill us with hope and an abiding trust that You dwell in us amidst all our joys and sorrows.
Thank You for the treasure of our faith life.
Thank You for the gift of being able to rise each day with the assurance of
Your walking through the day with us.
God of our past and future,
we praise you.
Thank you for your holy hospitality, comments and conversations generated over the nearly four years that I have served at Lakeshore Drive United Church, Morrisburg.
As of July 1st, I will be growing by serving an interim ministry at Ashton-Munster Pastoral Charge. I have grown in my faith through service here and through the generous collegiality of the South Dundas Ministerial.
Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Arlyce Schiebout,
Lakeshore Drive United,