From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

So I don’t know how many of you watched the service today (for October 4th), but at the beginning of the service I mentioned how I actually wrote and recorded it all about a week ago. So basically everything that happened this past week wasn’t taken into consideration when I wrote and recorded the service, simply because they didn’t happen yet (insert confusing time paradox theories here).

And man, did a lot happen.

Most notable of course (at least in my mind), is the fact that US President Donald Trump has contracted COVID-19. And of course, everyone on Twitter went all crazy and the divide between the left and right became even more pronounced. Those on the left cheered (and then some felt bad about it), and those on the right somehow threw blame on the left for causing this to happen.

C’mon, Twitter. In my opinion, neither are right, and neither are justified. We all know that we all think that we’re the good guys (and they’re the bad). We all think that God is on our side (and not theirs). We all think that we know better (and they need to shape up).

(You can insert basically whatever isn’t us in the third person plural pronouns there, sadly it doesn’t really change the meaning of the statement)

It’s like we collectively want there to be sides, we want to be divided, we want those who we don’t like to pay for their wrongs while we can sit smugly and say “I told you so”. We would just rather not be welcoming than to just welcome. We can be so vindictive.

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 25:1-9
Psalm 23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

Let’s be honest, how many of us in reading this parable, were thinking of who those who didn’t attend the banquet are? Who were we thinking just got wrecked because of their attitudes and unwillingness to accept the invitation? Who are we wanting to throw under the bus and say, “I told you so” because now God’s going to get them?

Maybe all of you had someone in mind, maybe none of you. I know that is where my mind went first, and although I knew that I didn’t want to think about it, I still did. I still thought about how angry God seems in the story and who the story might be referring to. And while I didn’t have specific people in mind, I definitely had specific types of people in mind (which maybe makes it worse).

But then it dawned on me, those who were deemed unworthy weren’t the only ones in the story. There are others as well. There are others who didn’t expect to be invited but were, those who didn’t deserve to be invited but were, those who maybe didn’t even want to be invited but were. The fact is, all were invited.

Yet somehow our minds (or at least mine did) focused on those who didn’t make it, on the guy who got kicked out, on who in our lives we could apply this warning to. We forgot that all were invited. We forgot that those we don’t think are worthy are invited. We forget that we are invited as well.

And it’s not up to us who is worthy or not, but it is up to God. We are only to recognise that all start off as worthy and invited, and that God is the ultimate judge at the end. God, not us. God is the one who punished them. God, not us. God is the one who decides who is in and who is out. God, not us.

All we do is watch, probably with limited understanding, and then just go for the ride and let God be God.

And God is welcoming. God is gracious and kind. God is merciful and just, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Thanks be to God.

Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Jamie Coupaud on Unsplash

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