From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

So some of us were talking today after church about our local fireworks display for Canada Day yesterday. More specifically, we talked about the giant explosion that seemed questionable if it were intentional or some horrible accident. I was at the park with our daughter and after I saw it (and felt the heat on my face), I was thinking, we better get out of here before there’s a riot. I grabbed her and we had to hop the temporary fence the city put up to hightail it out of there (just so we could be stuck in traffic for 10 minutes).

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that explosion. I asked around and no one seemed to know if it was on purpose or not. Everyone I talked to or came across seemed to be just as bewildered as me. I mean, it was great that the city put on this event, especially since the “official” Vancouver Canada Day fireworks have been cancelled, but how horrible it would have been if it ended with an accident that could have been a lot worse than a paranoid dad jumping over a fence with his kid just to get away.

Anyway, I consulted Google today, and it turns out it was intentional (well, according to an anonymous poster on Reddit who said he worked for the fireworks supply company and this type of display is called a “gas bomb”) and that everyone was safe. You’d think that would be that, right? But of course, people still had to bark in the comments.

One person actually said that they should have at least made it clear that it was intentional, like have a few more fireworks come out of it. And another (or maybe the same person, not sure) said that this kind of “bomb” could be triggering to our war vets. Still others (again it could be the same super complainer person) said that maybe a warning should be issued just so people aren’t so concerned because no one is used to that kind of thing.

Sigh, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The city of Burnaby was kind enough to hold such an event, but people complain. Vancouver took away their event, and people complain. This happens and that doesn’t happen or vice versa, and people will find some reason to complain. We can’t win.

On that dreary note, here are the readings for next week:
Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm 145:8-14
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

At first glance, it almost sounds like Jesus is complaining as well. No matter what, there seems to be a reason to complain. Even Paul, talking about doing what he shouldn’t do and not doing what he should, it’s like we can’t ever please everybody.

And yet we still try. But on the most part, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I mean, I’m not saying that we should be people-pleasing “yes” people, but I do think that we are called to look out for the best interest of others and not just ourselves.

What then is Jesus complaining about? Well, the complaining it seems. But he finishes of with the reassurance of the divine rest that is found in his name. This divine rest I believe is the freedom from being bound by what others think, say, or complain about. I think in Christ, we are released from the pressures of doing what is good all the time and instead are empowered to just be good. I understand us being liberated from the shame and guilt that the world might dish out on us, in order to more fully know and grasp the grace and forgiveness that is given to us all.

So really, people can complain if they complain, our allegiance isn’t necessarily to them. People might disagree with how we wish to serve God, but it isn’t them we’re serving. We might receive some push back on the things that we do for our community or how we do it, but it is by grace that we are forgiven and not by what we do or don’t do.

May we all find rest in Christ, knowing that God’s love for us isn’t dependant on us or what we do, but only on the fact that God is God and full of grace. We are God’s people, and because of that we are strengthened in faith, empowered by grace, and welcomed in love.

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

Featured photo is the clearest shot I have of the explosion at the end of the Canada Day fireworks display at Central Park, Burnaby on July 1, 2023

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