It takes a lot

Dr. Eldred Marshall, Artist-in-Residence, Associate Director of Music Ministries

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

– Hebrews 11:1, NKJV


While venting with two of my best friends from Yale about the constant, soul-crushing news …

about hunted Black people and Breonna Taylor’s killer signing a book deal …

about Pfizer announcing a third COVID-19 shot, thanks to the quick spread of variants that defy our two-shot scheme …

about mass shootings …

about the universal church’s problems with the LGBTQIA community …

among many, many other things …

one of my friends said something that really stuck out to me:

“It takes a lot of faith to keep a faith.” 

It takes a lot of faith to keep a faith. 

I often remind myself that we are in a Genesis 3 state, and that “thorns and thistles” will follow all of us for the rest of our lives. 

Job encapsulates this sense. 

Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue. 

– Job 14:1-2, NKJV 


At the same time, God’s grace is never beyond the reach of anyone. 

We as Christians are to love the people of the world as God loves them.

This is a tough act to follow, as God sent his Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice, to show the depths of His love.

But in order to get there, it requires us to work at keeping our faith. 

Let us never tire of doing the work God sets out for us to do, even when the circumstances induce anxiety. 

It takes a lot of faith to keep a faith. 

Dandelions

Rev. Caroline Noll, Associate Pastor

It’s funny how perspectives change.

When I was a kid I loved dandelions. Don’t most kids?

Yellow flowers to pick and give to mom or tuck behind your ear or make a flower ring.

Seed heads to blow and poof into the wind. They were so exciting and pretty!

And then one day I’m grown up and we bought a home. With a yard. And weeds!

And I learned all about lawn companies and fertilizers and weed killers.

Who decided that a lawn needs to be monotonous Bermuda grass?

I don’t know, but they did a tremendous sales job, and I too wanted every green thing that was not grass banished from my yard.

Several years ago I started hearing talk about bees and natural pollinators.

I learned that dandelions are actually good and healthy for many things.

Then two years ago I attended a conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

It was June, and there were beautiful yellow flowers, tall, lush with greens, growing everywhere.

I bet the blooms were two inches across easy and the plants were a foot high.

I asked a local what kind of flower they were.

Dandelions!

It is against the law to kill them there because they recognize how good they are for the planet.

These days, my kids do the flower picking and dandelion blowing. The rest of the dandelions I leave be.

Sure, we mow, but I’ve just come to see them as part of nature. My perspective has changed, more than once.

It can be a difficult transition to move from something we think is absolutely a pest, wrong, invasive, unwanted, disruptive of our vision toward that moment of acceptance, peace, and understanding of what is best for the wholeness and healing and health of a bigger vision.

It reminds me of the story of Saul.

Scripture tells us he grew up in Tarsus, loved the language of the synagogue, and seriously studied the Hebrew Bible.

He worshipped faithfully and worked hard to keep all the laws of the Torah.

He had no patience for followers who did not. He felt compelled to stop the Followers of the Way, the followers of Jesus.

Saul’s perspective changed.

In Acts 9 we read where his vision was literally changed. His old sight was gone.

With his new sight came a new vision, and new understanding of what God wanted him to do and how he could best serve God.

He began to travel throughout the Roman Empire, using his Roman name, Paul, giving witness of a story changed from hate to love.

I’m thankful Saul got on board.

I’m thinking that working against God’s vision of the kingdom is about as pointless as me pulling dandelions.

Thankfully, there are plenty of children and nature lovers out there blowing dandelions to their hearts’ content.

And thankfully, God’s promise and invitation to journey together toward a kingdom more loving that we can ever imagine is just as abundant.

Let’s journey together with God, with one another, with the world.

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