From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

So we made it! We met back in the church today for worship, and I’ll admit that I was nervous as heck. You might know this about me, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things I care about (and things I’m paid to do), so I really wanted today to be absolutely perfect. I even preached about that in my sermon.

And wouldn’t you know it, something went wrong. Halfway through the sermon, the camera ran out of batteries. I know, it’s a dumb mistake as you should always charge your batteries. But the thing is the camera is plugged in to constant power, but somehow something went weird and the battery died anyway.

So those who were watching online just stared at a mostly black screen for more than half of the service. The sound and the slides still came through fine, but just no image of the sanctuary. It kind of crushed my heart when I realised what was going on. Like anything else could go wrong and it would be fine, but losing image seems… well… kind of a big deal. And a huge mistake.

It got to the point where I was actually thinking about just stopping the service and fix the problem. I’d have to set up my back up camera and stuff, and put a huge damper on worship in general, but at least it would be fixed. At very least, I was thinking that I would take the video down from Youtube so then no one could ever see it again.

But after talking to some people who remained very supportive and telling me that it isn’t a big deal, I came to the conclusion that just because there isn’t an image doesn’t mean that worship ends. Just because there are technical difficulties, it doesn’t mean that God is hindered. Just because I don’t like the thought of “imperfection” doesn’t mean that God cannot work in that imperfection and continue to display acts of grace and love.

God loves us, mistakes and all. God continues to be worshipped, whether things go smoothly or not. God is always with us, even if we can’t see each other through our screens. I just need to remember that.

Here are the readings for next week:
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Psalm 19:7-14
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

With this whole “post or not to post the video” crisis going on in my head, I sort of felt like the disciples and their crisis around others of a different theological flavour casting out demons in Jesus’ name. They felt like they had the authority on what can or can’t be done in Jesus’ name, and only they were the ones that could even do them (or not do them). So they promptly stood in the way of the imposters and commanded them to stop.

But Jesus told them to relax. It’s ok for the disciples to know what works for them, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way across the board. And it certainly doesn’t mean that they should be able to stop others from doing what works for them. Yes, if they were harming someone, of course they should do something about it. But curing others? Being helpful? Caring as Jesus cared? There aren’t any rules against that.

And so as we continue to navigate this pandemic and the transition back to something resembling normal, we can calm down a bit with our unmet expectations and perhaps our own failures and mistakes. Instead, we can trust that God will remain present with us through it all, picking us up when we fall, and leading us into new heights of community full of grace and love.

I just need to remember that.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

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