Thursday, July 2, 2020

Refections for Youth - Persistance (and more Pineapple)

So here is a familiar scenario: Let's say you really, really like a certain food.

Maybe it's pineapple on pizza.

So, you recommend it to someone. You tell them its delicious. They may tell you that they've never tried it. Or they tell you that they don't like pineapple so they know they wouldn't like it. Maybe they make a lot of excuses about why they won't try it. But still, you invite them to try it anyway. Harkening the words of grandmothers everywhere, "You never know unless you try." 

We give it our best shot. Why? Because you love it and enjoy it and want someone else to enjoy it, too.
So, this is probably a really simplistic example, but it is the type of conversation that Jesus is talking about in this week's scripture. 

It's a little confusing out of context so here is some background. At this point in Jesus' narrative, he is with traveling around with the disciples and teaching and preaching in their cities. John the Baptist, who is in prison, hears about what Jesus is doing and asks his followers to ask Jesus if he is really the Messiah that they have been waiting for, or should they look and wait for another. Jesus tells the people to go back and tell John what they have seen have heard. He wants them to tell John about the people that have been healed and reached by his ministry. After John's followers had departed, Jesus talks to crowds about the appeal and significance of John's ministry. He reminds people that John is a prophet that came before him to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. And he reminds them that starting with John, people have rejected and violently reacted to the teachings about the Kingdom in Heaven. 

So here's is where this verse starts. Jesus talks to "this generation" - the crowds that he is speaking to. He uses analogist language and says that the people are like children sitting in the marketplace and that they (he and John) have come with messages of God's love and peace and it was rejected. They called John a "demon." Jesus scolds the people who have seen his greatest miracles yet didn't change their hearts and lives.
Jesus is saying that there are certain people, who, no matter what you offer them, they will make excuses to refuse and reject what is being offered. But it's more than just convincing someone to try pineapple on pizza. Jesus was inviting them to receive God's love and peace.
The people in the story responded like I do when my husband cooks liver and onions. I make a bunch of excuses not to try it. 

The people who make excuses may think that their reasons make sense, even if those excuses don't make sense to others. But whatever their reasons were, the end result was that they said no to what Jesus was offering them. 

Despite people saying to Jesus, “No, I won’t listen to you or try what you are saying because I have excuses” Jesus kept sharing God’s love and peace. And because Jesus kept sharing and inviting, he also found people, like the disciples, that said "Yes, I will follow you." They said, "Yes, I will try that pineapple pizza."

We know what happened next. Those people kept sharing with others just like Jesus did and so on and so on. So, here we are in our lifetime and people are still choosing to follow Jesus and share God's love and peace with others. 

For me this week, the message Jesus is sharing here is a comfort with all that is going on in the world. It is a reminder that I can choose for myself what my values are and what I believe in. I can share those beliefs with others. Some won't agree. Some won't listen, make excuses, and not try to understand. But, I can keep sharing because there are some people who will listen.

Long story short: Keep Swimming. Don't give up on sharing what you think is right and what you believe. 

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