From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

About a week ago the much anticipated Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch was finally released, and of course we (I) had to pick up a copy.  If you aren’t familiar with the Mario Party series games, you really should try it.  It isn’t a video game as much as it is a board game with video game qualities.  That is the best way I can describe it with the limited time I have and without showing you the actual game.

The objective of the game is to collect stars and coins, and the play who has the most stars wins, and in case of a tie with the number of stars, then the player with the most stars and coins wins.  So basically you just try to collect these stars that pop up around the game and protect them from others who try to steal them from you.  In between all the star chasing and catching and stealing, there are mini games which you play against your opponents in which you can win coins, depending on how well you do.  The coins are used to buy stars (of course), and items to help you get further in the game (or to get you more stars).  It might sound confusing but it is really really fun (trust me, come over sometime and we’ll play).

Actually, maybe I should back up a bit.  The objective isn’t to collect stars… the object is to win, just as much of life.  You try to beat your opponent, you try to play the best game, you try to walk away with the fleeting virtual trophy that doesn’t even save for the next round.  In other words, while you’re trying your darnedest to win, what you win doesn’t even really mean anything as that record isn’t even kept anywhere in the game (that I could see, at least).

In that case then, I guess the object should shift to just having fun.  My son was really upset that he kept losing to me (because I admit I am pretty good at the game), but when he finally won straight up (I didn’t let him win, he legit beat me), he was just elated.  But from there he saw how the game is just about having fun, experiencing the playability of whole concept, and of course spending time with each other.

And so should life be, really.

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 53:4-12
Psalm 91:9-16
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

Oh, those disciples… always arguing amongst themselves.  This time, of course, they are arguing who is the greatest (again).  Specifically, James and John wanted the highest seats of honour beside Jesus.  I mean, the nerve of those two.

Sometimes we want that too, though.  Sometimes we want to sit in the places of honour because we think we’ve earned it or deserve it.  And maybe you do deserve it, maybe you’ve earned it, or maybe you just paid for it (in which case you’ve still earned and deserve it).  And I don’t think that Jesus is saying that there is anything wrong with sitting in places of honour or earning and deserving such seats.

I think what Jesus is teaching the disciples (both to those who were asking for the seats and those who were angry at them for asking) is that places of honour don’t really matter when it comes to the kingdom of God.  He is saying that while you might get that seat, that doesn’t make you any higher in God’s books.  He is saying that great or not great, deserving of much or little, sitting up there or down here, it all doesn’t amount to anything lasting because with God we are all seated the places of honour.  With God we are all the favourites.  With God, we all have that trophy that lasts a lifetime.

That trophy of love, grace, and peace.  That trophy of joy, welcome, and inclusion.  That trophy of being able to worship, pray, and serve.

It’s isn’t a trophy that we earn or deserve, but it is one that we have.  So we can put that worry aside, and just enjoy the life that is given to us.

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

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