From the Desktop of the Pastor – week of the 6th Sunday after Epiphany

Hi everyone,

So the snow is back.  I would be lying if I said I were happy about that, but what can you do?  Not much really, but shovel.  And shovel.  And when you’re done that, you can go ahead and go outside and shovel again.  You know, the shovelling wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have the added stress of having to do it by a certain time as most of our municipality bylaws state (or at least I’m told).  And while they aren’t even really enforced in any way that I’ve ever seen, there is just something about someone telling me that I must complete this or else that really takes the joy out of shovelling the walk for me.

Yeah, I said joy.

There is something about having a nicely cleared sidewalk with cut snow lines.  There is a sense of accomplishment when you are done and you look back at your handiwork as you walk back to the house.  There comes a certain pride in knowing that the path in front of your house is relatively safe for people walking by, and that you did your part in helping others.

Truth be told, even if it weren’t in the bylaws, I would likely shovel anyway.  Just maybe not by 11am or whatever the time deadline is.  The funny thing is when you attach “law” to it, then all of sudden it has a stigma attached and we don’t want to follow it because we are a rebellious bunch.

The readings for next week are:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
I Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

We know that the bible contains laws.  In fact, the first bit of the bible is called “the Law”, and the ancient Israelites referred to their bible often as just as the Law.  We have likely heard these laws, we may have some hung up on our walls around the house, or maybe we even have some highlighted in our personal bibles.  We have songs about the Law and we learn about them in church.

But what are these laws actually for?  Why were we given them?  What do they do besides make us feel oppressed and perhaps controlled?

As Jesus explains in this portion of his famous Sermon on the Mount, the Law doesn’t just keep us in check and ensure that we’re not unnecessarily hurting people, but it also helps us to see people differently.  It helps us to regard others with love and respect.  It reminds us that all people, no matter how much we may not like them, are made worthy of God’s love by God’s grace.

So what does that mean for us?

Well essentially, it means joy.  There is joy in living in community with each other.  There is joy in knowing that we are equal and can be treated as such.  There is joy in being loved by God and each other, in that it isn’t about not being allowed to cause harm, but that we don’t even want to harm.

Rather, we seek happiness.  We seek respect and justice.  We seek that joy that is given to us in the new life found in Christ.  And it is there.  We just need to forget the feeling of having to and adopt the wanting to because it is who we are.

And we are God’s children, beloved and redeemed, brought into God’s Law of peace and goodwill.

Have a great week, everyone!

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