One evening, I turned on the remote and a message came on the TV. Error CODE 727. This error indicates that the sports program you're trying to watch is blacked out in your area. That’s odd because I have it set to channel 4 watching “Jeopardy.” I switched to channel 220 a NBC Sports Network and the same message appeared. I call Direct TV and the tech responds that she had to report it to another power and they would get back to me. When I inquired when it would be fixed, she had no clue. The following night, the same message appears on our PBS network that didn’t make sense. This time Susan gets on her computer and logs onto the Direct TV chat line. I remark that won’t help. But she’s chatting with a tech who says she will refresh the network feed. I picked up the remote ready to change the channel and Susan gives me that “teacher look” and says “Don’t you dare touch that remote. Let Go of the remote.” To myself, who does she thinks she is talking to like that but in a few minutes, I’m switching channels and this tech had restored our reception with no error message.
Our remote is like our traditions. We hold onto to them so tight that they can become stubborn and our downfall. Sound familiar ladies, you have to tell your old man to let go of the remote. In the gospel story, Jesus had to tell his men friends to let go.
“John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’” Now, by all accounts, casting out demons is a good thing. And, truth be told, I don’t think that the disciples were upset about the demons being cast out. They were upset because they were being cast out by someone who wasn’t them. They had the corner on this whole Jesus movement, and if someone else was casting out demons, that’s a threat—never mind the fact that demons are being cast out!
Maybe it’s time the men in priesthood let go of their power and trust their laity to take over the leadership of the faith community. Jesus was stern with his disciples because they felt they were the only ones allowed to heal. Jesus was reminding his men that there is more than one model for being Christian and being the Church. Big screens and praise bands may make some people’s skin crawl. But for others, the ancient liturgies of the Church have a way of snuffing out the fire of the Spirit. The best sermons are the ones the pastor most needs to hear himself. It’s time the priest let go of their remotes, their traditions, that stifle the spirit and let our lay leaders refresh the church and faith.
Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends and, especially brother priests, as we gather for our synod meetings. May we accept the wisdom of Jesus who said: “Whoever is not against us is for us.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “We’re all in this together!” There’s a lot of Kingdom to build, and there’s more than enough work for everyone! In a world that can sometimes feel like everything is falling in on itself, what a welcome breath of fresh air to hear that, no, in fact, the whole world does not depend on its priests. We are all in this together!