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Ministerís Musing for June 7th 2024

We live in increasingly polarized times. Every significant issue that we face as humans and as communities seems to have extreme camps with opposing positions: climate change, LGBTQ2+ issues, Indigenous rights, Reconciliation, Israel-Palestine, fossil fuels, pipelines, drug policy, policing, religion. Look into any of these topics and you will find extremists throwing shade at best on anyone who disagrees with their narrow view. It is enough to make good hearted people of faith want to retreat from the world.
Well, this Sunday, our wonderful Ken Irwin will be speaking from a passage in the gospel of Mark that contains classic First Century polarized rhetoric. Jesus dared to heal on the sabbath, dared to stand with and offer healing to those on the margins of life- the poor, the sick, the landless. And instead of going after his ideas or even his practices, they resorted to calling him names and questioning his mental stability.

It is an age-old practice. If you disagree with someone but can’t refute their ideas, make it personal. Cook up a scandal. Call them crazy.  Go after their character. That is what we see happening to Jesus when he speaks and acts contrary to the norms of his day, healing on the sabbath. They call him Beelzebul, demonic, “he’s gone out of his mind.”

This Monday is the 99th birthday of the United Church of Canada. At our core, we want to stand with those on the margins. Also at our core is the desire to bring people together, bridge differences, find common ground and make a real difference on some of the most important issues of our time. So while some will be hearing Ken unpack the polarized rhetoric, others will be standing with Tsleil-Waututh siblings, praying for the water that sustains our common life. Both are sacred offerings.

Let us pray that both will bring people together, somehow heal the divisions that plague the human family, somehow bring glory to God.

Blessings, Will

Categories: Ministers Musing