From the desktop of the pastor – week of the 11th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I was just enjoying an innocent and healthy meal at McDonald’s with my kids and my attention diverted to the tv that was on (actually, my kids noticed it first and I noticed that they were ignoring in favour of the tv, which then made me look to see what was on).  It was playing the news of all things, and specifically covering the situation that happened Virginia yesterday (if you by chance don’t know what I am talking about, just do a search for those specific words and I am sure you will find out soon enough).

Like many people around the world, in our country, and sitting there with me at McDonald’s, I was appalled.

I was appalled at the violence, at the hatred, and the sheer difference of opinion and outlook of the world.  I don’t understand how people could have their minds so closed to differences that they would resort to punching another human being in the face.  It was tough to watch, but at the same time, it was tough to turn away.

There is a saying out there, and it goes like this: “haters gon’ hate”.  What this saying so poignantly points out is that people who have hatred in their hearts cannot help but display hate.  It might not even be towards something specific, but rather just a general hate that latches onto whatever it can and gives its bearer any reason conceivable to just be hateful, angry, and maybe even violent.

God help us all, and especially those in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The readings for next week are:
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Psalm 67
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:10-28

The kind of hatred and closed-mindedness that we saw in yesterday’s violence isn’t something new.  In fact, it has been happening probably ever since people were born with different skin colours and noticed each other.  As people grew, developed, and evolved, traditions and customs emerged and now came a whole slew of new ways to judge and compare and hate.  The ancient Jews were no different, they regarded themselves as God’s chosen people, so they had all the more reason to look down on others and point out their faults.

But the texts that we have for this coming week say something different.  They say that it is not tradition or custom or practice that makes a person good, but it is the person’s heart in which we can see their true nature.  Of course, this isn’t always easy as there are plenty of people who can talk a talk but walk a completely different walk.  There are people that can fool us into thinking they are something they are not.  And there are people who they themselves are (ironically) fooled by their customs and traditions that they are different than who they are.

Good thing that it isn’t up to us to judge them.

Good thing God knows we have enough to worry about with ourselves then be too concerned with others that aren’t really our business.  We can rest in the fact that God is the one who will decide our fate, but won’t do so based on custom and tradition, but rather with grace and mercy.  This is something that I can get behind, believe in, and support as I continue to try to make sense of the world.

Have a great week, everyone!

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