Gospel Luke 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your 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.
‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’
A friend of mine gave me some acorns that he had collected at sacred places whilst on pilgrimage. The idea was that I would make them into prayer beads. A lovely idea, I thought -a connection with place, heart and spirit.
As soon as I had the opportunity I took the bag to my worktable, tipped them out and started to drill holes from tip to bottom; and there, amongst them all, was an acorn with a crack in its golden shell and the palest green shoot beginning to sprout.
This acorn had attitude; it was not a bead; this acorn knew exactly what it was; knew why God had created it and what God intended it to be and wasn't going to let a few hundred miles and the total absence of either light, soil or water from distracting it from its purpose. It was on a growing curve; one inch to 100 plus feet in however many years it may take. It had to start somewhere and the paper bag was enough.
Unable to argue, I found a pot and some soil and placed the acorn in as near a 'natural' habitat as I could.Then, guiltily went back and checked the rest. But all of them lay dormant.
So what was it about this acorn? Was there a sense of consciousness; a sense of will that makes one acorn fight against the odds? That allows the others to give up?
Is faith just as basic; or meant to be as basic, as an acorn, as a mustard seed? The acceptance that this is who you are; who you belong to; where you are meant to be. That you don't even need nurturing or opportunity; that faith, on its own, is enough? It will live and will grow purely in the knowledge of what it is.
Although it won't. The acorn would have died in its paper bag eventually. It needed to find a place to grow,to be fed, to be.
Faith, true faith, doesn't really ask for much either; just the resouces and opportunity to grow. To know who we are; to recognise our vocation; to desire, against all odds, to fulfill our calling; to find a place to realise that vocation.
The strength of faith is that it may measure only an inch but in it's mind it is a hundred feet tall.