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For the 17th Sunday in Pentecost 2020 from Pastor Matthew:

The Hebrew text reading appointed for the day continues the saga of the Israelites through the wilderness.  What's the one thing that keeps recurring in these texts over the last many weeks?  Two things: (1) the unceasing whining and complaining of the children of Israel and (2) the continual provision of the God who loves them despite their bratty, entitled way.

What is to be learned by us as we hear once again these familiar stories?  Stop complaining and take stock of the many blessings the Lord has heaped upon you.  if you catch yourself soon enough you might actually experience the next blessing God is readying for you.

The Gospel this Sunday is about authority, who gives it, what is it for?  When should it be taken back?  All salient questions for the times in which we live.

This text contains one of my favourite verses in all of scripture "Surely the prostitutes and tax collectors are going into the kingdom of heaven before you"  I have always found it a salutary practice to picture someone I have contempt for, or dislike, or judge to be "wrong" in some way and then picture them walking ahead of me into the resurrection with Jesus winking at me as we both pass by.  If I can smile at that image, I know there is a chance that I'm "getting it".

pax