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
God can do gigantic, earth-changing things with something tiny. Even something as tiny as a mustard seed. All it takes is a little faith. On my first Sunday at the Lutheran Center just a little over a month ago, I was tasked with preaching this reading from Luke’s gospel to my new community of young adults. I knew, coming into this call, that God was growing something big here at the LC. I now get to experience this mulberry-sized ministry.
Our students bring faith into every moment of our community. They bring faith to our small groups, like Questions Brewing, podcast club, and bible study, when they ask questions, and voice their doubts, and dare to put language on their experience of the divine. They bring faith to their ‘vocational discernment,’ (the LC term for ‘figuring out what God is doing with your life’) and they do so in intentional ways, like at our monthly Toast meeting, and in the day-to-day moments. They bring faith when they show up to worship bringing the stress and chaos of the semester and together, sing familiar, beloved songs. They bring faith when they preach on Wednesday evening, and claim faith for themselves. They bring faith to epic ping-pong tournaments in the lounge, and when playing intramural sports, and when listening to the drop of the new T-Swift album, and when laughing over outrageous conversations over lunch time in the lounge.
For our students, an experience of faith is a thread woven together with an experience of uprootedness. Jesus gives us a heads-up in the parable that these things often go hand-in hand. Our students are learning the joys and struggles of being away from home, and finding their place within a new community. They are articulating their faith for themselves- learning what pieces of their theological tradition still serve them, and those pieces that must be let go. It can be a feeling of utter uprootedness. The Lutheran Center is a place where new roots can be planted, and a safe place for new relationships with God and with others to form. I have seen students extend deep compassion to one another. They live out God’s radical, expansive love in the way they welcome someone new, and care for familiar friends.
Our community together recognizes how God is doing something new in our midst. God has uprooted the Lutheran Center this year, moving us from what was done before, and called us to look towards the future. In many ways, as transitional pastor, I embody this uprootedness. We bid farewell to beloved leaders, and we welcomed an additional rostered leader position, our deacon. We are engaged in the formal call process for the next pastor, and as we do so, we ask ourselves in our daily Lutheran Center life how God is calling us
into the future. It is a time when we imagine, a beautifully apt theme for our year. Together we are discovering that this journey of transition is a gift, and even a time to find great joy. We trust in the future to which God is calling us. Myself, Deacon Coco, our student staff, our governing council, our supporters, and our whole community are committed to bringing faith to this time of transition. We have faith in the God who created us out of deep love. We have faith in Christ who empowers our actions. And we have faith in the Holy Spirit, who enlivens our ministry with creativity and joy. Faith, perhaps, even a
little more than a mustard seed.