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Little Things

A mustard seed. A fox. The driver in the car beside me. The counting of music notes and head nods as bells are rung. Little things. Mustard seeds. How will I be open to the Spirit sowing mustard seeds? This week I have been on the look out for little things.

Taking a few moments to pause while doing dishes, I watch for the fox who visits the open space behind our home. Pausing to take a breath, it’s a prayer of thanks for the “mustard seed” joy of seeing “wild life” from my own kitchen.

Stopped at the red light I turn to make eye contact with the driver beside me, we both nod and smile. At the Ring and Sing concert I notice the care and detail of bell ringing. Heads are nodding, there is deep concentration and lips moving in the whispered counting of the beat. My head nods in unison as well, even as I am not making the sounds. Observing the care of turning a page while modeling for the young boy beside her when to ring his bell I am filled with gratitude. On a Sunday afternoon I am giving God thanks for the patience and practice of music that nurtures my spirit. It’s the little things.

“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:30-32

Will you join me? Mustard seeds, you really have to take time to look to pick out a single one. From just one single seed grows a great shrub. The rush seems to set in right after Halloween. Building upon the sugar high of too much candy corn everything seems to flash - “the holidays are coming…”.

Instead of being in the day there is a rush to get everything done now so you can make it through the holidays and be on the other side of exhaustion, overeating, overspending, and all the obligations. A cultural chaos that overshadows the mustard seed moments.

So I am inviting you to an “instead”. Will you join me in slowing down when the pressure is building? Would you consider pausing to take a breath and give God thanks for the little things? The pause allows us to reconnect with God It is the moment to gain perspective and seek the presence of God.

The practice of gratitude, the prayer of “thanks God for the fox” shifts my day. I can feel that seed taking root this season, in this day, in this moment, in this breath.

Aah here it is the connection that happens in the holy pause. It’s small, so very small, almost insignificant at first glance. It’s just something that looks white in the distance. Then I see there out where the fox had been is a Magpie in the distance.

As I pause to look at the antics of the Magpie I see that just beyond him is a hawk. Pulling out the binoculars I see that this hawk must stand two and half feet tall. It flies up into a tree. It has a white chest and a wide wingspan. Looking for the fox, then seeing the magpie I am now enthralled by the hawk. A mustard seed. In the midst of the day -a pause- and I am giving God thanks for the little things.

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