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

Hi everyone,

We have just finished the first full week of school, and for my family, the first full week of 3 kids going to 3 different schools.  It isn’t that bad, as the schools themselves aren’t that far out of the way from each other, and with our kids having two parents and all, it is pretty manageable.  But what I’m starting to find difficult with the 3 sets of schools, PAC’s, administrations, and kids… it is the parents that I’m having a hard time managing.

I understand that all people are different and come from different walks of life and are at different stages of life.  I get that different parents will have different parenting styles and philosophies.  I get that everyone wants what is best for their own kid and will do what it takes to get it.

What I don’t get, however, is how parents would try to benefit their own kid at the expense of my kid.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like parents are being bullies or anything… but I’ll be darned if some parents can be very inconsiderate.  From parking to pick up and drop off, to trying to convince the principal that their kid deserves more than what they’re getting, or a better teacher than what they got, to thinking you’re the only dang person in the room that wants to take a picture of your kid so you take up all the space and get into everyone else’s picture like all the time.  Seriously.  There are other parents and kids in the world too… and some are even in the same school.  Sheesh.

I mean, how entitled can you be?  Very, I suppose.  I guess when you believe that your kid (and only your kid) deserves the world then that just naturally means that all the other kids deserve nothing.  And I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly cool with that.

But such is the life in a school that is as diverse as our Lower Mainland schools.  And even more so when we have to deal with 3 of them.

Here are the readings for next week:
Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 54
James 3:13–4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

Entitlement.  Pretentious attitudes.  Arguing over who is the greatest and thus deserves the most.  All this stuff doesn’t just happen in schools, it seems like it happens even in bible times.

And it really isn’t a surprise, as we all like to think that we deserve a little something here and there.  The problem really comes when we think we constantly deserve more than we do, or if we feel like we deserve something at the expense of others.  Perhaps this goes without saying, but we aren’t judged or rated in the great grand scheme of things and life really isn’t a competition.  But still, I get it.

The world tells us that authority, power, and riches are what set us apart.  The world tells us that we achieve greatness through our accomplishments.  The world tells us that only the strong survive.

I’m not saying that all those things aren’t true, but I am saying that they aren’t always in line with what Jesus tells us.  And if you told me that I had to choose between Jesus and the world?  Well, I’d probably choose the world but I’d really really want to choose Jesus.  The point is, we can’t be absolutely perfect, of course.  We can’t do absolutely everything that is asked of us (thankfully).  And we most certainly cannot live up to the standard that Jesus sets before us.

But we can try.

And as we try to serve others, as we try to live humbly, as we try to not be so concerned with the worldly definition of power and greatness, then we do slowly see and feel the joy that Jesus talks about.  We begin to understand what community looks like and how we can be a part of it.  We start to recognise God’s very real presence in the world, living and breathing and moving through us and each other, that we might see the value in each other and perhaps our varying levels of deservedness, but at the same time that we all can act as servants for each other.

Maybe this is a tall order, and I most certainly don’t expect very many people to give it more than ounce of thought.  But… can you imagine?  Can you imagine what the world would be like if all people adopted the heart of a servant?  Can you imagine what our communities would be like if we lived and acted with the best interests of others in mind?  Can you just imagine what life would be like where we didn’t see life as a competition?

Pretty good, I would think.

Have a great week, everyone!

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