James reminds us of the duplicity of language, like a matchstick dropped by singed fingers that leaves behind charred acres. The deception of language is that we believe it is innocent.
Season after Pentecost | 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 (Psalm 19:7-14); James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50 | Semi-continuous first reading: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 (Psalm 124)
My Dad was a pastor. He began his ministry in the early 50’s, when mainline churches were growing like weeds and a clerical collar would elicit a discount at the local department store and a complementary membership in the country club. Not so for my son, who has also worked a pastor. He paid full price for his coffee at Starbucks, where he led discussions with Millennials who wouldn’t dream of darkening the door of his grandfather’s church.
If Moses is any example, the pastor’s yoke was never light. He wasn’t very far into his 40-year pastorate when he learned that his flock did not feel called to provide him with constant affirmation.