To move mountains

When she was old and fading –

her gray hair paling,

her skin thinning and softening –

my grandmother painted watercolours.

A mustard seed of memory

shuttled yellow clouds across canvas,

stilled storms, swept the earth into peaks:

with her paintbrush, she moved mountains.


From this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 17:5-10):

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

On the way home I heard a piece on NPR about the late artist and personality, Bob Ross. A participant in a Bob Ross Certified Instructor’s painting class, Susan Rossi, told how Bob Ross’s painting opened up a world of possibilities for her after a stroke changed her life:

You think, wow, no limits. You can move clouds, you can change mountains …

I received the sudden (and not altogether mountain-shattering) revelation that mustard-seed faith is really in league with breadcrumb imagination to re-create the kingdom of heaven …

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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