From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 3rd Sunday in Lent

Hi everyone,

So we had a pretty good AGM today at the church, very efficient and productive. This makes any meeting pretty good, as it just is an effective use of our time. So I thank those who were there, those that presented reports and participate, and of course those that led the meeting. Truth be told, I actually like these kinds of meetings because… I don’t know… there is just a good order to it all.

Of course, according to our bylaws, they are supposed to be in good order. Literally. Our bylaws state that all meetings must be conducted under Bourinot’s Rules of Order, which is pretty much a standard in Canada as I understand it.

Now I should say that I’m not an expert on Bourinot’s, but I know that there is some good stuff there. I mean, good enough that I’ve probably lost about half of the readers of this blog post by now. It’s good stuff, but also very boring. Because as good as order can be, it is also restricting, stifling, and for many, life sucking. Like, why can’t we just live, for goodness sake?

So a balance has to be found. A balance between order and spontaneity, between rules and freedoms, between law and gospel.

And lo and behold, such is our Lutheran theology. What are the chances?

Here are the readings for next week:
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

So there is no shortage of law in these readings. Like, the first reading is actually the Law (with a capital L) given to us through Moses. It’s these laws and regulations that we base our lives on and helps us in our faith and daily walk. We know the basics like don’t kill and don’t steal, but the rule given to us by Jesus in the gospel, don’t make God’s house into a marketplace, might have us a bit confused.

Because as we learned in our AGM, our congregation does pretty well financially. We have stored up a decent sized nest egg. We have enough in the bank to provide for a rainy day or two or a thousand or so. But does that mean we’ve broken this rule because of it?

Then we go back to the other examples of don’t kill and don’t steal, does that mean MAID and other forms of “unaliving” is inherently wrong? Does that mean that definitely someone not paying for a loaf of bread to feed their family is punishable by law?

Well, according to society, yes. All those things are breaking the letter of the rule. But the question comes around the principle of it. What was the intention of the rule? What was the purpose of the law? What is the point of doing or not doing what we’re asked to do or not do?

Bottom line, really? Love God, and love neighbour. After that all the other rules and laws fall into place. If we look at life through that lens, then we can see how we can be governed and also how we can be forgiven.

So God’s house is a place of worship, of course, but let’s not make that worship rigid and legalistic. Taking someone’s life can be an act of hatred and anger and hatred, but also could be from a place of mercy and care. Stealing from someone could hurt that person if they don’t have much, but giving to someone in need out of our abundant blessing is gracious.

See the law gives us our do’s and don’ts that produce good order, but God’s grace gives us love and life that brings out community. And there is freedom in that.

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

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

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