Home family faith, works and grace amidst the rice paddies

faith, works and grace amidst the rice paddies

by Shawni
On Sunday, as we whisked by
field after field of ripening Vietnamese rice paddies, rich greens and deep
yellows streaming past our windows, Max gave us our Family Home Evening lesson.
It was conference weekend.  Back home we
would be gathering together to listen to our church leaders on television,
“conference cinnamon rolls” rising in the oven. 
Instead, we were on our way home from the breathtaking beauty of Ha Long
Bay, salt-water crusting up on our bodies under our over-worn clothes, en route
to another adventure in Hanoi. 
Sometimes the beauty of the
earth, and seeing new parts of it almost feels like church to me.  Those hallowed sheaths of rock jutting out in
steep gray cliffs from the bay, sprouting greens to soften their austerity makes
me feel, in a way, that God is speaking to me. 

But that day in the van,
surrounded by the people I love very most, God spoke to me as well.  And Max brought the message eloquently and
beautifully with very little prep time, which filled my heart even more. 
He talked about Faith.  He read the normal definitions from the Bible
Dictionary at first.  But I loved the
definition he gave from his heart the best: 
Faith is something you feel that
teaches you what’s right.  He told us that
as far as his seminary teacher is concerned, faith is an action not a
noun.  And he told us another seminary
teacher always paired faith with two other things: “works” and “grace.”  (So
grateful for good seminary teachers!)
From there, the discussion
swirled into what “works” we are doing or need
to be doing, how “grace” has touched different aspects of our lives.  We talked about those three things in
conjunction with Max’s college applications he’s working on, this trip to China
we are on, how little seeds of faith can grow into so, so much more when we
pair them with those keys of works and the grace of God.  We talked about those rice paddy fields we
were passing.  How many pieces of rice
can come from a single seed.  How little
seeds of faith can spread goodness and love.
That’s when the timing
happened to be perfect for a quick stop to check out the rice, waving at us
from the side of the road.

 (Lucy has this new pose she is determined to do in family pictures…)

How I hope that each of us in
this little family of ours can have the strength to be as strong as those
little rice seeds.  That we can have
enough faith to produce our own seeds of goodness to spread out and grow and
become.

Become the people God knows we
can be.
That’s what I learned from my
boy and my family…and from God in our own session of “conference” on that hot
and humid Sunday afternoon surrounded by His beauty in Vietnam.

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