From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

Well, another live hybrid service done. And while it was free of the sound issues we had last time, it had it’s own slew of its own unique sound problems. It’s funny, no matter how much testing, preparing, and setting up it takes to do this, something always seems to go wrong. I think there is a pessimistic law about this somewhere on the internet…

And I’ll be honest, I woke up yesterday morning feeling really nervous and anxious. I was dreading this day, thinking of all the ways that I was going to screw it up. I spent a long time going over things yesterday and making sure everything was ready to go. I spent more time away from my family in preparing and psyching myself up. I spent more time worrying than I did in reflecting what I was doing all of this for.

And then this morning I woke up totally at peace. I didn’t think about the tech much at all and I just got up and got ready and everything seemed ok. And yes, the actual service wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped or envisioned to the high standard I put on myself, but it was still an actual service. There were some sound issues (in that the sound wasn’t working at all in the 15 minutes leading to the service), and some weird video glitches (more like oversights than glitches), and not that many people tuned into the video, but I think God was still praised by those who did. God was still worshipped.

Which is totally the point, by the way.

Service smoothness and tech readiness aside, God is to be praised. And God was praised.

Here are the readings for next week:
Amos 5:18-24
Psalm 70
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

I don’t think I know anyone who likes this parable that Jesus gives in this gospel lesson. And having said that, I don’t know if I know anyone that like the Amos reading either (not that I specifically asked anyone about it though). The reason we don’t like it is because God sounds really harsh in these passages. It’s like God is devoid of compassion and grace. And we don’t like that.

Especially when it is directed at us.

We feel like we’re the ones in Amos that keep up those traditions that God hates. We feel like we’re the brides in the parable that ran out oil. We feel like we aren’t living up to God’s standards so we get sad and down on ourselves, perhaps even beat ourselves up for not knowing any better.

But the thing is, I don’t think that is what these stories are about. I don’t think God is specifically saying make sure you have enough oil in your lamp to keep it burning (burning, burning, burning). Rather, I think God is saying that let’s not put that proverbial cart before the proverbial horse. Let’s not get caught up in the tiny details of worship. Let’s not worry about how Zoom will work or look or sound (well, maybe sound, but everything else is fine). Instead, let’s just worship God. Let’s give thanks to God for all that God has done and continues to do. Let’s put aside all worry and remember that God isn’t concerned with how much oil is in our lamps or how much liturgy we can recite or how high our gain levels are on our microphones. God is just concerned with us showing up. Being there. Knowing that God is God.

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

Photo by Michael Maasen on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.