Notes from the pastor July 19, 2020

Notes from the pastor ~

I wonder if there was such a thing as a “meme” in the time of Christ? Well, before we go any farther, I need to define this rather infectious phenomena as we know it today. Simply put, a meme (meem) is “An image, video, or piece of text, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.”  So yeah, I guess there weren’t such things around over 2000 years ago. But today, nothing is stopping folks from posting pictures of Jesus saying things that…well, things that he did not say.

“But they’re catchy and they’re fun and they don’t hurt anything.” I may have thought that myself at one time, but here’s the thing – they do hurt. They can distract and distort. They can dismantle and cast doubt. And unfortunately, there is a growing number of hurtful people who have discovered that this fun, harmless medium is a great way to spread their message.

I recently chanced across a meme about the Dr. Denis Mukwege. Dr. Mukwege is a Nobel Prize recipient currently practicing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is also on the Covid 19 response team in his home country. Under the picture of Dr. Mukwege was a news item, of sorts, stating that Dr. Mukwege had resigned from the task force because “we have been ordered to declare any illness to be coronavirus and any death.” According to the meme, Dr. Mukwege went on to say, “In addition, the thing that displeased me is that, after more than 100 samples, none of them came out positive….. Getting rich by lying is a sin before God; I quit,” indicating ‘they’ were offering to pay him for his false statements.

Normally, I would let this kind of “news” just slide on by, but I was curious. Why would the Republic of the Congo want to exaggerate the numbers of Covid 19 victims in their country? It didn’t take long to research the issue and discover that this “news story” was totally false. It looked official and had some very official looking photos of Dr. Mukwege, but it was totally made up.

In today’s Gospel message, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the tares – the Parable of the Weeds. In biblical times, the Greek word for weeds (tares) was ‘zizania’ which is a very particular type of weed that looks just like wheat as it is growing up. You can hardly tell the difference. Today it is called Darnel wheat. It looks like wheat, it appears like wheat, but it is not wheat. It fools you.

For us who live in this, the Information Age, the Parable of the Weeds has a particular value. Thanks be to God for the eternal wisdom of scripture. We need it now more than ever if we are to spot the weeds that grow among us, and thanks be to God that we can trust him to help us sort them out.                                                                                                               KJ

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