Partners in peace: mustard seeds
By Rev. Abby King-Kaiser
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Reflection: I know that I can be like the disciples, without even the small faith needed to heal, without even the mustard seed. And yet, in the small things, that is where I can see peace building.
When I was the advisor to the Muslim Students Association, I grew close to the officers. I spent a lot of time with them, helping them to motivate and move their small but diverse cohort on campus. It was the best job—getting to know students deeply, being challenged and stretched, and finding small ways I could be helpful. I enjoyed their presence and missed them when they were on breaks or graduated.
So I felt particularly ashamed, when at a small open house at the very end of the semester, I blurted “Have a merry Christmas!” to the president of the MSA as we said goodbye. I could actually imagine stuffing my foot in my mouth or crawling under a rock to hide from the embarrassment. I apologized, profusely, but couldn’t undo the awkwardness in that moment.
Almost four years later, when he was in the middle of law school and he could see the tide of Islamophobia rising around him, he called me for advice and comfort. It was a pastoral conversation like many I have had with students or young alums, even though we didn’t share the same faith. We did share a lot of other things in common, however, and from there, while acknowledging and working with our differences, something took root.
Maybe these are some of the mustard seeds I plant toward growing God’s peace. What are yours?
Action: Plant something, literally. Choose to use one less disposable item today. Make a small financial contribution to a peacebuilding initiative. Find a way to plant a new mustard seed that is a part of God’s larger action toward peace.
Prayer: Creating God, draw us into this work and show us the small action we might take. Root us in a faith that trusts your vision for peace. Amen.
Rev. Abby King-Kaiser is a teaching elder, a mother of two, and a campus minister at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sees the world in pictures, which is most often translated via Instagram even though painting is more fun.
This year’s A Season of Peace resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues like human trafficking and sustainable development, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the days of this year’s A Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect on:
- Peace that passes understanding: personal testimonies of faith and peace within self, within families, within communities
- Partners in peace: interfaith work for peace and justice, building peace between us while witnessing to peace in our wider world
- Go and see: reflections from travel study seminar participants
- The church and its witness: reflections on addressing trafficking in its varied forms
- Peacemaking and practice: stories and reflections on building bridges and crossing divide
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 2, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 7