Today as I picked up the dozen pine cones that fell in our front yard between Saturday and this morning, I thought about my wish that I had faith enough to remove pine cones (see Luke 17:6). Then I thought, "I don't need faith to cause pine cones to levitate and relocate; I can walk around and pick them up."
After that I thought about the other challenges Jesus gave us yesterday - to lead others well (and not cause them to stumble), to forgive, and to humbly serve him. While it takes great faith to do these perfectly, it only takes a small amount of faith to get started.
To get started is kind of like picking up pine cones. You see the need and do what you can to respond to it. Sitting on the porch lamenting that there are pine cones in the yard won't move them. Sitting in front of news programs lamenting that there are children without positive influences or sitting in a chair stewing about a wrong someone else committed against you or sitting in the pew waiting for praise for obeying Jesus won't help the Kingdom to come.
Yesterday people around the globe celebrated World Communion Sunday. We honored it by praying and singing and then with a combined service and dinner with Cumberland UMC.
I didn't see the connection to World Communion Sunday in the assigned Luke text (Luke 17:1-10) until I saw our time with Cumberland. It was in seeing the unified congregation, hearing the combined choir, watching the teens escort adults from Cumberland to Central for dinner, and listening to the interracial sharing and laughter over dinner that the connection to Jesus' teachings became obvious.
At least last night the little ones were shown a way that's different than the stumbling block of racial bias. At least last night steps were taken toward forgiving the real harms of racial division and animosity. At least last night people of all ages and both races humbly served Jesus by humbly serving one another.
Like picking up pine cones, we all took steps toward doing what needs to be done and the Kingdom came a little bit closer. Thanks be to God!