Chapter 22, Page 175 – Forward in Faith
“The place God calls you to be is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner
“… and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, FAITHFULNESS, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22-23
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19
As I reflected on the fruit of FAITHFULNESS, I was led to the passage from Luke [found as well in Mark and Matthew] about mustard seed faith … and the passage returned to me the gracious memory of Lynn Peachy and her daughter Mary. Many may remember “Miss Peachy” and Mary from their joyful musical support of our Lights Choir up until Lynn’s death in 2013. With the clockwork precision of Greenwich Mean Time, Lynn would arrive by her DART bus “chariot” with Mary each Tuesday afternoon. Motoring along on her brightly decorated motorized wheelchair, they would share in supper they brought along with them in the Great Hall classroom while waiting for the children to arrive. It was always the time in which I was blessed to hear of their adventures during that week. While supported financially by Social Security disability insurance and small retirement stipend of her late husband, she navigated life always with a smile and filled with God’s love to share abundantly. She loved our children … she loved Jesus … and she LIVED her FAITHFULNESS the best she could in the ways she knew how.
The last six months of her life, it became physically impossible for Lynn to come to St. Thomas’s to be with “her children” in the Lights Choir. In my visits with Lynn, scattered between hospital stays and the nursing home in which she moved in her latter days, Lynn was always spreading God’s love while suffering in deep pain of multiple health challenges. Even in those hospital stays, she would have her trusty portable keyboard beside her bed, often playing spirituals that came deep from her bones of faith. The other item that was always traveling with Lynn was her mustard seed plant. When this lesson was the appointed Gospel, Deacon Cecily was the preacher on that day. As part of her sermon, she gave mustard seeds to all gathered to visually show how small in size it really is. Lynn and Mary took that seed, planted and watered it, and it grew … and grew … and grew. After Lynn’s death, Mary went to live with a sibling in Pennsylvania. She carried her mother’s keyboard and mustard seed plant with her.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast [the demon] out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:19-20
The blessing of “Miss Peachy” in my life, and I believe to the lives of the children and families she touched in her time with us, is that she LIVED resurrection faithfulness! She clearly understood that her health was fragile and failing, and VERY CLEAR about her mortal life. Lynn lived each day as if this would be her last, so she lived it fully and joyfully. Living out of her resurrection faithfulness, she would do something every day to serve and glorify her Lord through her living. Many days it was in serving with our children on Tuesday evenings and being present in worship with Mary every Sunday. Some days, when her health was compromised, it would be through a phone call, or a piano lesson, or writing a note to share her gratitude and faith. I have a handful of “Miss Peachy” notes in a special file I go to when my resurrection faithfulness is not working real well.
As we come to Holy Week and Easter Day, I was captured by the following from a portion of a book My Bright Abyss by Christian Winman:
“Just as some of Jesus’ first-century followers could not credit the presence of the risen Christ, so our own blindness, habit, and fear form a kind of constant fog that keeps us from seeing, and thereby having faith in, the forms that grace takes in our everyday lives. We may think that it would be a great deal easier to have a living faith if the world erupted around us, if some savior came down and offered as evidence the bloody scars in his side. What the Gospels suggest is that this is not only wishful thinking but willful blindness, for in fact the world is erupting around us, and Christ is very often offering us the scars in his side right now. What we call doubt is often simply dullness of mind and spirit, not the absence of faith at all. It is faith latent in the lives we are not quite living, God dormant in the world to which we are not quite giving our best selves.” “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” What mountains, or even hills, await movement by living your resurrection faithfulness in the here and now of your days? Maybe standing at the foot of the Cross of Calvary on Good Friday will reignite the faith that is “… latent in the lives we are not quite living … in the world to which we are not quite giving our best selves.”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
With gratefulness always, your servant in Christ