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Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed Potato Salad

The Lord replied, “If you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

In listening to that Gospel reading as a kid, my mind often drifted to, well, exactly how big is a mustard seed? I imagined it must be awfully small since Christ was making a point about how such little faith could do so much. But I had never seen a mustard tree, much less a mustard seed.

Then one day, years later, something happened. I was served a dish with mustard seeds in it. So that’s what they look like. Finally I knew what Christ was thinking of when he uttered those words. I suddenly felt more connected with Jesus. I got that same feeling you might get when you are shown a keepsake or a photo of a deceased ancestor, and you find yourself examining something they once intimately knew and understood.

Well, I have never met anyone who is able to uproot a mulberry tree with a command, but there certainly are examples of other people who have achieved miracles on mere Christian faith.

There have been times in my own life when I have achieved, or received, the seemingly impossible. And when those moments occur; when I’ve found myself looking backwards to recognize that I’ve overcome terrible odds, overwhelming resistance or stifling fear for no other reason than I had put my faith in God, I again feel a heightened connection with our Lord.

Perhaps that is part of what Jesus meant in the Gospel passage. Maybe it’s not about what feats we accomplish because we have faith, but more how our faith brings us back to him. Because, after all, isn’t that what we are called to do – to know our Lord as intimately as possible and to become as connected as we can through our deeds and our faith? Yes, knowing that God carried us through because of our faith is perhaps a greater prize than overcoming whatever it was he helped us with.

And, by the way, for those of you who have never seen a mustard seed and might want to know exactly what Christ was picturing inside his mind 2,000 years ago, they can be found in the spice section of any grocery store. Pick some up. They go great in the zesty dish I referenced above.

Mustard seed potato salad

• 2 pounds fingerling potatoes

• 1 red onion, chopped

• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

• ¼ cup red wine vinegar

• ¼ cup mayonnaise (or salad dressing for a sweeter taste)

• ¼ cup chopped dill

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

• 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds

• Salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice potatoes into ½ inch thick round pieces. Boil until fork tender. Drain and let cool completely. Place in a medium to large salad bowl. Add chopped onion and set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the mustard seeds on medium heat until you start to hear them pop (about a minute). Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, dill, garlic, and Dijon mustard.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and onion. Add the toasted mustard seeds and salt and pepper. Gently toss until completely coated.

This potato salad can be prepared a day ahead and is great served chilled at any barbeque.