The Reaction of Belief
-Pastor Melissa Fain-
1 Jesus responded by speaking again in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. 3 He sent his servants to call those invited to the wedding party. But they didn’t want to come. 4 Again he sent other servants and said to them, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, the meal is all prepared. I’ve butchered the oxen and the fattened cattle. Now everything’s ready. Come to the wedding party!”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went away—some to their fields, others to their businesses. 6 The rest of them grabbed his servants, abused them, and killed them.
7 “The king was angry. He sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. 9 Therefore, go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party.’
10 “Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party was full of guests. 11 Now when the king came in and saw the guests, he spotted a man who wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. 12 He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet and throw him out into the farthest darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.’
14 “Many people are invited, but few people are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 CEB
People can tell you they are anything. They can espouse a belief system they don't personally follow. Not much is stopping anyone from being absolute liars to your face (or online).
Take Frank Abagnale Jr.. In the 1960's he ran away from home with just a few dollars to his name. He then faked at least 8 identities, and created fake checks and cashed it. What he told others, was not at all who he really was. Abagnale would write a book about his journey in 1980, and Hollywood would pick it up 20 years later and make the movie: Catch Me If You Can.
On one hand, we have a responsibility to fact check our sources. Take me, for instance. I tell you I'm a minister and I've been doing online ministry for 8 years now. There better be something that backs that up. Well, if you look to the right you can see eight years of archived posts. If you click the about tab you can see how I became an online minister including my schooling. I know people who can say, yes, Melissa Fain went to Candler School of theology and she graduated with a Masters of Divinity. There are people who will say I put my actions where my words are. I take the truth very seriously. I make that transparent because there are plenty who don't. Not all people who say they are a minister online, are really a minister.
Therefore, on the other hand, we need to see how a person's actions speaks to their real purpose. For example, I'm basically a full time sub. That's how I've gotten paid for the past 4-5 years. The school I sub has had zero confirmed cases since they opened back in early August. Masks are also "strongly encouraged," and not mandated. It would be easy for me to just go maskless. There are so many students that have begun to feel comfortable and stopped wearing theirs. Yet, the thought of being the family that starts a super spreader event at that school horrifies me. I love the staff at the school. Maybe I'll never catch it or spread it, but I cannot know. It is for that reason I wear a mask at all times. It's not comfortable, but it is the easiest way to show love to these teachers and staff that didn't have a choice about going back to school.
How we're like the scripture for today
The craziness of the world today has clarified many scriptures for me.
When one dismisses or ignores something, it's not because they believe it. Kids ignore their parents all the time because they think they know better. In other words, they don't believe their parents when their parents tell their child something is dangerous.
We don't act from other's beliefs. We act from our own belief systems. We also lie from those same systems. When we lie to someone about our belief, our actions are saying, "I don't trust you enough to treat me the same way if I tell you what I believe."
When a person stops hearing differing points of view, it's usually because they've become a person who can't be trusted with other people's belief. They've lost the power to change anything.
The scripture today is about God's story to the people, and the people's rejection of the story. It is also our rejection. There are times God tells us to go and we stay. There are times God invites us and we reject that invitation or kill it. Perhaps we don't kill it like the prophets were killed, but it's dead by the time we're done with it. Death happens in many ways.
I get this scripture better today because I can see how belief plays out in our actions. We support what we believe. We act from that belief system. Saying you believe something is different than the actions that show that belief.
You believe something? It shows.