From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 5th Sunday of Easter

Hi everyone,

So I had a pretty good day yesterday hanging out with the kids (mostly). I had a bit of work to do but after I was done we were able to play some games and even finish watching Back to the Future (that we started like 2 weeks or so ago). The boys have really been into chess lately, and so we played a couple games of that.

I won, of course. No way I’m going to let a couple of little kids get the best of me.

However, I did notice how much better they have been getting. They are learning the strategies and counter moves and I admit they did leave me surprised a couple times (and yes, one of them did beat me once… but just not yesterday). It was just a good time playing with them and watching them grow up. They like playing me for the challenge, and I like playing with them for the time together.

I have been becoming more aware of the racial tensions in the game (from the colours of the pieces to who gets to go first as part of the rules), but I’ve been able to put all that aside and just enjoy the game. I’m becoming a slightly better chess player (which isn’t saying much as I normally suck), but I’m seeing more and more as to how the game can be just a game and a means for me to spend time with our sons.

Here the readings for this upcoming Sunday:
Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I believe that the Christian faith is mostly about relationship. If you think about it, all the stories and teachings we get in the bible are about either our relationship with God, our relationship with each other, or our relationship with ourselves. And so it sometimes begs the question as to why we sometimes feel like our faith is about teaching others about our faith (or about everything as well, apparently).

Throughout history of Christianity we have people conquering other people in the name of teaching them about a more civilized way of thinking. We have different programs set up that are solely around teaching doctrines, truths, and interpretations. We even have a whole schooling set up (from which I’ve benefited, don’t get me wrong) to teach us how to teach. And this passage out of Acts probably contributed to that mentality.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with teaching, mind you. But I do think that there could be a problem when we focus on the teaching over the relationship. When I read about Philip and the unnamed Ethiopian, while there was teaching, I see the budding of a cross cultural relationship. I see it in how the Ethiopian invites Philip. I see it in how Philip agrees to baptize. I see it in how this story is recorded for us to see as an example of what could be. This is a relationship that was probably surprising for the both of them, one that was brought out by the Spirit, and one that leads to fruit.

Our fruit is dependent on our relationship with the vine. Our relationship is dependent on love. And our love is dependent on God’s grace that has already decided that we’ll be part of this community, this kingdom, this family from before we were even born.

So maybe moving forward we can ease up on the need to teach others and focus more on our relationship with them. Then maybe our differences won’t seem so different anymore, or at least not as divisive but perhaps they can be unifying instead.

God’s peace be on you all. Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

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