Good Morning. I am praying that your are getting all of the necessary items together for your Thanksgiving. Even in our home where we always have a good supply of food on hand, it has taken several trips to the store to be sure that we have everything in place for our family as they gather with us on this nation's day of Thanksgiving. I am back with you because my time ran out yesterday morning for me to get to the walk in immunization clinic at our local pharmacy. So, rather than take the risk of not feeling well for the holiday, I will be going next week on Monday morning before I send my Bible Study off to you. On Sunday, my sermon was about remembering all of the time that God is good. I hope in the hectic next several days, and on Thanksgiving you will remember through prayer the Great Benefactor of the bounty this nation makes available for her citizens. God richly blesses our lives every day, no matter how difficult some of those days may seem to be. So, give thanks with a joyful heart!
Today's passage for our bible study from Mark is the final one of the five sayings of Jesus which Mark kind of links together. Today's passage is about the power of the Reign of God to take even the smallest of thing, and to create out of it the greatest at the Lord's command. In this case, it is a significantly miniscule mustard seed. This tiniest of seeds holds within it the greatness of God's creation, and when it is cared for with the creation's warmth and water, it fulfills its purpose, and grows into a very large bush which can provide shelter and food for the avian population.
Every Jewish person knew about mustard seeds and mustard bushes. They were common in the middle east in this time. They could grow larger and higher than a horse. And, we must know that it was a common practice in this time period to speak about a nation in the image of a tree. So here we have the crux of this passage, that which is small not only has a purpose in God's creation, but it is filled with the potential for greatness because the Lord has ordained that it will be so. Our first lesson here is that we should never be daunted by small beginnings. The faith of a child, or the beginning faith of an adult, can become transformative not only for the one who carries that faith, but also in it is the greatness of God's Grace which transforms all of creation. It contains enough courage, strength, peace, kindness, Love (Agape), compassion, and even "fire" to move hundreds of others to faith, changing the world by its presence.
The start of a church is most often pretty darned small. It begins with usually only about 40 people who are the Charter Members, and as the years go by that church, if it is centered in boundless grace and Love, touches the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. American has moved from small to large and back to small in it's life. Yet our congregation has touched the lives of so many people we can remember who are God's triumphant saints now, and it also touches many people through our social outreach, that though we will never meet them, their lives have been transformed too by the generosity and giving of our congregation. And if we have faith and trust our Lord, the heart of our congregation will survive and once again be the worship home of many people, bringing the Light of Christ burning brightly into our very dark and broken world. Nothing has changed much in the world, except that change of heart and mind to accept God's Love and share it with everyone we meet. I have to say that I don't know a single person who does not need the Light of Christ in their life, even those of us who proclaim Him King continue to need the Light's guidance every day. It is through this Light that we welcome every one, offering the forgiveness of Christ, and the sure and certain hope of the Salvation which is ours though our Lord. One man dying on a cross may not seem like a very significant act, especially considering how distant He was from most of the world, with much of it not even known yet to the people of Israel or any one else for that matter. Today the Church opens her doors with Christ's welcome and Love. We live in a diverse and damaged world, it is the Church the body of Christ who is called to bring this massive diverse population home to its Savior. We are migrant, immigrant, northern European, African American, LGBTQia, we are ones who are often identified by their skin color, we are the wealthy, the poor, the old, the young, and everything in between, we are the physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged, we are the healthy and the sick, we are in prison, and we are law abiding, we are... all of us received with Christ's compassion and Love. All of this has sprung from tiny beginnings which now bring hope and life to us all, and to those yet to come.
Please remember that God is Good, and that He has a plan for all things to use everything to fulfill the purpose of the creation He has made. There will be no OT study on Thanksgiving Day. May God's richest blessings fill your lives.
In Christ, Pastor Kim