Small Things


mustard seed

I like how little things can make you smile and change your day,

On my way to church Sunday, I stopped at a red light. A gentleman crossed in front of me pushing his young son in a stroller. The man did not acknowledge me at all, but halfway across the road the little boy raised his hand in that way drivers do to signal a casual “thank you” to another driver.

It made me laugh the rest of the way to church.

Our liturgy for a few weeks is focused on creation, so some of our readings are a little grittier than usual. As we prayed for “everything that creeps on the earth,” Noah helpfully held up his rubber snake as an example. I don’t know if anyone else in the choir saw it, but it made me smile for the rest of the opening dialog.

Even as I'm making these notes on Sunday morning, I'm smiling, because I just heard Pastor Jason's sermon referencing the mustard seed as the smallest of things that can become the mightiest of bushes.

When you're having a rough day, the smallest of niceties can make a difference. And it really isn’t hard to be nice: to hold open a door for someone, to let someone merge in front of you on the road, to pick up a piece of trash on the street. Those things really aren’t hard, but can unknowingly make a world of difference.

The hand wave from that little boy may have just been a reflex. Then again, maybe he regularly sees his father make that motion during driving.

Noah raising his snake at the right time may have been a coincidence. Or maybe he was really listening to the prayers we were offering.

Jesus had positive things to say about small things: the tiny mustard seed which grows into a mighty tree; a few small fish that became a feast for thousands; two small copper coins which became a symbol of great faith.

As individuals, we may not feel that we have much power. But we can make a difference. We can model civility. We can model faith. We can model support for others.

And sometimes, we can just make someone smile and enjoy their day a little bit more.

-Ann Iona Warner

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