1.2 Deepening Faith
Giving witness to a faith in Jesus is a very personal thing. And it is something that not all staff in Lutheran Schools and ELCs can do. If we are honest, not all of us have a Christian faith that we can confess. Some of us may have been fortunate enough to have grown up in a churched family or worshipped in a Christian church, but for many, our school community may be the only experience of Christian community we have experienced. In the end, all of us who work in Lutheran Schools no matter where we have come from spiritually can grow deeper wherever we are in our faith journey.
So how do we go about deepening faith? In a sense having faith in Christ is a mysterious thing. No one can be forced to have a Christian faith. In fact, many people lose their faith in Jesus because of being pressured or forced to, or because of the abuses of the church or the wounds they have suffered from the church. A living faith comes only by the Holy Spirit and is a miraculous thing in any human being. In his parables in Mark’s gospel (4:26-29) Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as seed being scattered by a sower who then goes about his life of working and sleeping. The seed sprouts and grows but the sower does not know how the plant grows by itself in the soil? We do not know exactly how faith grows inside of us, it is a work of God that we cannot decide for ourselves.
Jesus then goes on in Mark’s Gospel to ask what can we compare the Kingdom of God? He replies with one of his shortest parables, the parable of the mustard seed; The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches (Mark 4:30-32).
This parable is often interpreted as one of God growing big things from little things. Jesus picked this image of the mustard seed because God values the small things in life and will use them, to have a big effect on people. But another way of interpreting the parable is that the mustard plant was also known in Jesus time to be a voracious weed which quickly took over any garden. Can you imagine God’s kingdom taking over every part of you, of your life, your world? And how has the kingdom of God taken root in your school?
As a Christian school we are involved in the work of the kingdom of God. We provide a rich learning experience for all students but we also provide space for people to question their values and beliefs, to be informed of the beliefs of others, and be challenged to grow deeper in their understanding of who Jesus is. The seed however small is planted in all that we do or fail to do as the kingdom grows amongst us and people find shelter within it. Here are some ways in which we can all grow spiritually and deepen in faith:
In the end, the capacity to deepen faith requires an openness to be vulnerable and honest with others in our spiritual journey through life. It requires the capacity to reflect with others and be open to learn from their wisdom. And in our Lutheran context it is underpinned by a deep understanding of human brokenness and the grace of God which deals with it. This is foundational to our culture.
Lord Jesus, you described the Kingdom as being like a small mustard seed that grows into a large tree for the birds to nest in. As we engage with the Christian community here in our school grow your kingdom in us, deepen our faith in you, wherever we are in our journey through life, give us the openness and courage to grow deeper in faith. Amen.
 Spiritual direction is one person helping another person to attend to God's presence and revelation and prepare to respond to him. In other words, spiritual directors help people attune themselves to God.
 Martin Luther called this the theology of the cross.
About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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