The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had 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.” (Luke 17:5-6)
In the early stages of spiritual growth, faith operates within us like an opinion. It is something that we believe, but it is not something that changes the way we see our family or approach our work. At this early stage we tend to view or interpret faith as a form of certainty, but it sits to the side and rarely becomes part of our conversation. Over time, if we continue on a path of growth we realize that faith must be understood in a broader and deeper perspective. Faith functions more like an attitude and an understanding. Faith is an approach to life that trusts in opportunity and potential. In this sense it is as if faith is an attribute of the soul, in that it gives energy to and shines a light on this life from a higher dimension. Faith does not deny science, disregard facts, or blindly accept what can be discerned in other ways. As an attitude it seeks truth and confirmation, but accepts our experience as a valid means of engaging the world. Faith operates during uncertainty, when we are trying to find our way with someone or something, and does not deny that uncertainty exists. Faith seeks a spiritual understanding of events and offers a spiritual perspective. Events and experiences can be described and reported, but discerning the meaning of events or experiences requires an understanding of our intention and motives in the context of our faith. Faith understands that the goodness and righteousness of God exist, and that even in the most difficult circumstances, eventually what is good and righteous will be revealed.
We sometimes confuse our will or desire for the way that God functions in our lives. We erroneously claim God’s intervention in this world and sometimes claim faith as the reason. God functions in ways outside of our full understanding and leaves us in a state of freedom to choose our direction. God has a purpose even during the moments when we might be confused or misled by the appearance of things. Faith helps us access a capacity within us to do more than we thought possible, but faith does not change God’s intention or purpose. Through faith we access the creative powers of the universe and co-create with God, participating in creation according to God’s design and laws. Faith knows that we have already received much through grace and seeks only what is apportioned by God to be necessary for our purpose. Faith looks at the possibilities and seeks alternatives when many would give up. Faith is not stubborn. Faith has strength and perseverance. Faith is sustained by love.
We come to you God with deep humility and hope. Help us to find the opportunities to live according to our faith. Help us to remember that all things are possible with you. We look for possibility. When we are lost or confused God, may we press ahead with faith, doing what we know to do to help ourselves and to help others. May our faith grow as we live according to faith. May our service inspire faith and love in those around us. May we continue to learn and seek truth and may that truth support our faith. Amen.
From The Readings
2013-23 The first thing that you should know is that whatever you choose, we will not leave you; that you will always be held and supported in all of the ways that matter the most. Keep in mind that sometimes the best direction is one that seems the most contrary. Some people go where money is because their goal is money. But the advantage that you have is that you are working with human beings. And so anywhere you go, you will have people and resources to work with. There are those who need spiritual direction because their lives have been consumed by pursuit of material well-being. And then there are those who need spiritual direction, and they are rising up out of a relatively low material condition. Don’t be afraid of either opportunity. What you are learning by stating the direction or the context of your work is that it doesn’t matter what type of environment you go into; you are signaling to those who need to hear what your message is and what your help can be for them. This will help you.
2013-26 The usual paths or the clearly-defined paths are not the paths that sometimes yield the best results. It seems counter-intuitive to go where there’s no help, for example, but that may be because you are the help, rather than the one being helped. The laws of attraction function differently from the laws of proactive action. You can see that, for instance, in looking for jobs, there is the action of filling out a form, of applying, but the reality is that all of these kinds of jobs seldom speak to the highest good or potential of a human being. People fall into forms that have already been established, and when human beings are breaking into new forms, creating different communities, creating different opportunities, the old forms perpetuate old solutions that become less and less effective. Jeffrey sees this as well with all the elements that people discuss with new churches. They are unable to move out of the framework they understand. Even just using the word “church” makes a situation almost hopeless because it implies all of the traditional things, like worship and prayer. They are the same things disguised with a new covering or a new coat. It’s like putting on new clothes. Eventually the person comes through no matter what they are wearing.