From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 8th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

So our oldest son is away this weekend camping with his buddy (and his buddy’s family… we didn’t let a 14-year-old fend for himself in the woods alone), and we took advantage of his absence to get some ramen for dinner last night (he isn’t a fan of ramen for some unbeknownst reason). We went to a restaurant out in Richmond that I was pretty sure we never been to before when I chose it, but once we walked in I realised that we actually have been there before.

Still, the food was good and the atmosphere was interesting. We were sitting pretty close-quartered to other groups, which was a bit uncomfortable and noisy, but it made for some interesting observations. To my left was a large group of university students, and on my right was a family younger than ours. I should say that I don’t normally creep on the people around me like this, it’s just that we were sitting so close to each other that I could have easily eaten off their plates if I wanted to (which I totally didn’t but could have). So it was just hard to completely tune out everything that was going on around me (and I do try to pay attention to my general surroundings… you know, just in case of attackers). But there were a couple times that I looked around the room too, and I saw the same kind of mix of people: groups of friends, families, some single people, etc. It was just a nice cross-section of society in general.

All there just to eat some noodles.

Our society can be so diverse in make-up, culture, and background. We encounter people of all different shapes, sizes, and walks. Humans have different tastes and preferences and customs. Yet we all have the same basic needs as well as same basic way to meet those needs. And those needs that I saw yesterday were the need to eat, and the need to relate to others. Everything else really, is somewhat secondary.

Gosh, now I feel like having some ramen again.

Here are the readings for next week:
Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

While I might be craving ramen a bit, I am definitely not craving wheat. Or weeds, for that matter. But the parable that we get from Jesus here seems pretty cut and dry: the weeds and wheat will be identified, labelled, and separated, with the wheat being good and the weeds thrown to where the weeping and teeth gnashing happens.

Often we see passages like this and we think, “oh I totally know who the weeds are in my life” or “I can tell wheat from a weed any day” or even “I sure am glad that I’m wheat and not a weed.” Sure, we might not say this out loud in so many words, but in general the thought of how we save those weeds crosses our minds.

But the thing is, the saving isn’t up to us. It never has been. Not even the saving of ourselves has ever been up to us.

And neither has the judging of who is what in terms of wheat and weeds or sheep and goats or even sinner and saint ever been up to us. Instead, we are called to see the diversity of God’s people, appreciate our collective individuality and uniqueness along with our commonalities and unity, and believe that God loves all these people regardless. And thus… so perhaps we can learn to do the same.

Because really, at the end of the day, we all need the same thing: to eat and to relate. And what a joy it is that the church provides for both.

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

Photo by Paulo Doi on Unsplash

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