From the Desktop of the Pastor – week of the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

In the sermon today, I made a quick reference about a certain aspect of the world that I have a feeling no one got (because no one reacted, but it could have been because it wasn’t that good of a reference).  I mentioned that a statement of Jesus could have been “potentially job-terminating” (ring any bells?  Yeah, I didn’t think so either).  It just seems like these days, there are a lot of people being fired over something they said in the heat of the moment or when they just thought no one was watching, or even when they weren’t even at work and leading their own personal and private lives.  But I guess with social media as prevalent as it is now, nothing is ever really all that private or forgotten anymore.

And so people are being fired over it.

I’ve read about people getting fired over a video that captured them making and off-coloured remark.  I’ve heard about people being terminated from long-time employment because of something someone else said about what they said (provable, but still).  And of course we all know of a very famous movie director that was let go because of some very distasteful tweets made like 10 years ago.

It’s like everyone’s job security is on the line because of their presence they have online (all but one… you know who I’m talking about).

Some are very much justified, but there are others when I wonder if the employer has gone too far.  More often than not the employer would give the reason that the employee’s opinions and views no longer line up with that of the company or organisation (or country as we often wish and pray fervently for), and so it is best for everyone to just part ways.

But can a whole personality be summed up by one tweet?  Can a person’s convictions really be seen by a single statement?  Can we see inside a person’s head by just how they talk or what they talk about?

Well, in a word: yes.

Let’s look at next week’s readings:
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 116:1-9
James 3:1-12
Mark 8:27-38

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we are justified in judging someone solely by a single statement or action.  Rather, I do think that actions and words are very indicative of who a person is and how they see the world and the people around them.  If someone were to say, protest a national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality, well then it is clear that this person has strong convictions against innocent people dying by the hands of law enforcement because of the colour of their skin.  At the same time, if people were to boycott said protester and whole companies that support him, then that says a lot about how those boycotting understand the world and how the world works.

The point is, our actions matter.  Our words matter.  As they point to who we are, and how we matter.

Jesus was showing this in this gospel reading for next Sunday when he was telling his disciples that he was giving himself up for the sake of the world.  And the disciples didn’t get it.  In fact, they didn’t want to get it, so much that Peter pulls Jesus aside and tells him to cut it out.

“Get behind me, Satan!” is Jesus’ response.  Satan.  The adversary.  The one who goes against the will of God.

Peter isn’t an evil man, but he didn’t understand the world as Jesus does.  And his actions reflected that, as he wanted Jesus to live and flourish as Peter saw fit.  Peter wanted it Peter’s way, and Jesus told him to get back in line.

But the thing that gets me is that Jesus wasn’t just going to correct Peter’s actions, but Jesus was out to correct Peter’s heart.  You can try and try and try to get someone to change what they do or say, but unless they understand in their heart what your way is actually better then it’d be like leading a donkey to water who doesn’t want to drink (I’m not saying that we’re donkeys, I am referencing an Italian saying that my Italian friend wouldn’t stop saying… so it’s just in my head now).

Again, we as individuals do matter, and what we do matters.  Understanding that our contribution (or non-contribution) to society has a lasting effect might just make us rethink that contribution (or non).

Above all, our hearts matter.  What we think, what we feel, how we see the world and everything in it plays a huge role in that contribution.  Fortunately for us, we have an ultimate guide and teacher to show us the way the world is intended to work, and how we can get on board with it.  Let’s follow this ultimate guide and teacher that we might know true community and grace!

Have a great week, everyone!

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