As a teacher's helper, I may have learned more than the kids.
The little wooden chairs encircled the small table. A large pile of soft dirt was piled on newspaper in the center. Already the boys had made roads into the small mountain. The Sunday school teacher smiled at their antics. She brought foam coffee cups with each one's name written on the side. On the other side of the cup another word had been written.
As she handed them out she explained the task. Take the dirt and fill the cups.
Little hands moved into the mountain of dirt and soon the pile was nearly gone and ten cups were filled.
She then held up a paper sack and shook it. "Can anyone guess what's inside?" she asked.
"Rocks!" a boy declared.
"Candy!" another one shouted hopefully.
She opened the bag and placed a single seed in each palm.
"Now take a finger and make a hole in the middle of the dirt." Fingers poked the soil.
Ten seeds were planted.
We carried the cups to a large window sill, where the teacher carefully watered them.
The following week we checked our cups and saw the same cup of dirt. It was the same the following week. And the week after.
But one week later, ten faces peered at ten dirt-filled cups and there were ten green spouts.
That's when the teacher explained about the word written on the other side of the cup: faith.
She said faith is believing in something we cannot see, but trusting God while we wait for it.
There was one more part to the lesson. We went outside and planted ten Douglas fir seedlings along the church border. She said that faith takes nurturing—just like we had nurtured our seeds in the little cups. Now faith would be met in the outside world—where there would be storms and challenges.
But in faith, we know we don't face them alone. God is with us.
Last time I checked, those trees were still standing. A small seed planted in faith, grows stronger. In faith, so can we.
Blessed Easter, my friends.