Luke 17:5-6 (In the preceding verses Jesus talks with the disciples about forgiveness as a sign of the kingdom of God on Earth, and the constant practice of forgiveness as an element of kingdom discipleship. The disciples response: "If you want us to do that, Jesus, you better give us more faith!")
2 Timothy 1:1-14 (The letter begins with words of thanksgiving and praise for the strong faith Timothy has shown in God's kingdom of grace, in the way he has helped lead the church. In this, he is much like his mother and grand-mother. What a great family heritage. But! Always a but, it seems. Is he beginning to flag and fade in his own faith? Is he beginning to lead in ways that really aren't in tune with the kingdom of God? He is urged to rekindle the gift -- to not let the true treasure that makes all the difference in the world, be lost.)
On a morning walk I came across this stream just a few blocks from our house.
And my first thought was how small it is. How little water it carries. How insignificant it appears. How ordinary and un-striking it is.
I was disappointed.
But as I stood on the foot-bridge that spanned it, and looked and listened and paid attention, my heart opened to its quiet beauty, the restfulness of the place, the refreshing flow of the water that is there.
It's one of who knows how many streams that run through Dundas. One of how many million streams in Canada and around the world that each do their part in their quiet and ordinary flow, in helping keep Earth alive and well.
"Lord, if you want us to keep practicing the ways of the kingdom of God on Earth, you gotta give us more faith, make us stronger, make us more spectacular, make us more striking and special and powerful. It's the only way we can make a difference in the world. And it's the only way we can keep going and not give up."
To which Jesus says, "Hosh-posh! You've got all the faith you need when you have even the slightest inkling of what the kingdom of God is about. All you need to do is live it out in your own little way, wherever you are put by God, and you will find yourself part of a vaster network and web of true life than you can ever imagine ... and that will nourish and strengthen you, once you let your little stream of faith actually flow."
- The first disciples stumbled over the call to practice forgiveness. They couldn't imagine it doing any good (really changing the world), and weren't sure they could keep practicing it. Do we hold back on forgiving others because it "doesn't change anything" and just makes us look like fools?
- What else do we not do just because we can't see what difference it will make, or we think we don't have what it takes to do it as well, or as consistently as others?
- What if every little stream in the world thought that? And acted that way?