Monday, June 16, 2008
Strawberry Fields Forever
There we were in the strawberry fields, rows and rows of ripe berries, joyful summer music dancing in my head as the sweat rolled down my face. It was sweet labor, dripping with memory and silence but for the others in the field occasionally calling to each other, a rumble of thunder and the random scream of delight from a small child. Wonder and awe mixed with sweat, dirt and straw. A familiar, unique, seasonal event that stirred up memories, possibilities and some sorrow. So much fruit to pick, with a melancholy realization that there are few to share this with. Something about this time in June triggers both great joy and some deep sadness. Sadness for all the fruit seemingly rotting on the vine, that I could not reach, could not rescue, could not use in my life for the betterment of myself, my family and others.
"For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21
Jesus scolded his disciples for their lack of faith and promised them if they have faith they can do the impossible. Today, in this season of ripe fruit and full blown frustration, I ache for the disciples. They wanted to do all the right things, ached to cure the child, needed desperately to believe and yet they still fell short. I like them, has the real desire for a greater faith, so the mountains of exclusion and ignorance can be moved, so that those who have been run out and left out can truly be welcomed in our church. I sometimes feel like I am pushing a rock up hill, or yelling into silence. And then feel shamed because I lack faith.
For this day, I will remember that faith is a gift from God, not a skill I can learn on my own. There is no gym for faith, but only the moment by moment, breath by breath, regular trusting of God for everything will build up my faith. Using the faith I have, giving thanks for the gift that faith is, this is the way faith grows - along with sharing it with others. Faith is best when it is given away. So today, when I slip into the melancholy places of aching for what could have been, I plan to rejoice in the faith I have been given, celebrating the gifts I do have, dancing with the blessings and the fruit of love that surround me. I may not move mountains today, but I can bake a pie with all the abundance I have been given, and share that rich and sweet desert with all those I come in contact with today. May we all share the faith we have been given, knowing that it it not ours but God's gift and God will supply the increase and the abundance.