Good morning friends! Today picks up right at the cliffhanger that yesterday's reading left us with. The people, panicked by the scouts report begin to rebel and it causes a whole mess for Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite community. I think there's a lesson in that for us all. I'll share more later. I'm curious what about this section sticks out to you. Share in the comments below or message me by email! firstname.lastname@example.org
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
Would Jesus say amen to this?
- My Thoughts -
When the whole community of Israel panics about the scouts report it leads to people dying, families mourning, trauma in the gathered community. How easy this could have been avoided had the report come back with a less anxious voice, least I would like to believe in hindsight. In seminary there was something that we were taught - the best pastors are not the best preachers, or the ones that write the best cards, or even the ones that lead programs in such a way that the church grows. Rather, the best pastor is the one who is a non anxious presence. In other words, a pastor should be graded on how effectively they can temper emotions in the church and how well they can sit in the middle of a hurricane and remain calm. Perhaps this is during a medical crisis for a parishioner, leading the church through a difficult change (or a pandemic), or settling feuds between members. This really stuck with me after I heard it. Prior to this I considered myself a bull in a china shop with a sense of pride. I would preach extremely convicting sermons because I thought it was more important to be prophetic than it was be careful. If I offended someone in something I said I would laugh it off and say "sucks to be them." I was a little bit like this at the beginning of my time at Chagrin but way less so than I was before. My sermons have become more tempered over time, or at least worded in ways that are less divisive. I still struggle with this though. Sometimes I just want to scream into the mic when our country does something awful or when our administration treats people like trash. I want to scream into the microphone when a black or brown body finds themselves on the other end of a police officers gun....again....and again....and again...I want to scream into the microphone. But so did those scouts that day and all it did was lead the people away from the promised land and it caused pain and loss.
Now - I am not saying we should not speak up against evil, I know I won't stop doing that, but we should strive to the non-anxious presence in our friend circle and in our work communities. Especially as we get closer and closer to election day. I believe the merits of what makes the best pastor also apply on a more general sense - what makes the best christian.
God, forgive me for all the times I let my fear get the best of me and in my panic I hurt others around me in words and in actions. Blessed savior, help me to become like you who can sleep in a storm, help me to be a non-anxious presence for those I encounter this day. Amen.
Devotional prepared by Nick Gliha on October 26th 2020