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Pastor’s Corner: MAY 2023

I have a confession to make, and I need to ask for your forgiveness. Let me explain: Do you happen to remember my Clergy Corner from last month? Where I mentioned the trip my son and I took to Lexington, KY to the Comic and Toy Convention? And then the tale of the young family with two little girls who prayed before their meal and I was so embarrassed because my son and I (a pastor!) did not think to pray before our meal? Okay, so, now maybe you remember…

I shared several scripture passages with you. One in particular was about servant leadership and humbleness. As you may recall, the mother of James and John asks Jesus to grant her two sons the most prominent places in his coming kingdom. The two men are standing there and Jesus turns to them and asks, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They respond, “We are able.” When the other ten disciples hear about this, they are angry. Jesus takes this occasion to challenge their concepts about importance, servanthood and humbleness.

Well, I wrote that the above passage was from the Gospel of John. Not only the Gospel of John, but I stated that it was from John, Chapter 20:20-28. Well… Here is where my apology comes in: that account about James and John and their mother IS NOT from John 20:20-28. Here is the passage from John 20:20-28:

“20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ 22 Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’ 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.’ 26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ 28 ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.” (New Living Translation)   

Well, that does not sound like the story about James, John and their mother and their interaction with Jesus, does it? The passage above is another well-known interaction story between Thomas and Jesus and how Thomas’ life was irrevocably changed by Jesus.

I think I know what happened and what may have caused me to put down the wrong scripture passage—I was working on sermons for Lent and Easter, and well, perhaps, maybe, I had a momentary brain slip. Or, more than likely, I got in a hurry… The passage about James, John, their mother and Jesus is actually from MATTHEW 20:20-28… 

“20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 ‘What is your request?’ he asked. She replied, ‘In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.’ 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, ‘You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?’ ‘Oh yes,’ they replied, ‘we are able!’ 23 Jesus told them, ‘You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.’ 24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (New Living Translation)

So, there you go. There is the correct scripture that I wanted to use about being humble, having a servant heart, and having the right attitude. I found some other scriptures that I would like to use to help with my apology and admission of my mistake:

Proverbs 19:2, “Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.”

Ecclesiastes 10:4b, “…A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.”

James 3:2a, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes…”

Psalm 38:18, “But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.”

2 Corinthians 12:13b, “…Please forgive me for this wrong!”

No one is perfect, we know that. The only perfect person to ever walk the earth was crucified for the sins of the world…

What I do find interesting, that in the midst of me submitting the clergy corner for April, and with all of the comments and compliments I received about that column, not one person brought it to my attention that I misquoted scripture. So, did I really need to bring it to anyone’s attention and apologize? I felt I needed to… Like I had mentioned in the previous clergy corner column, I realized that as a dad, pastor, and Christian, I needed to acknowledge my mistake.

So, there it is—mea culpa. Read your Bible carefully! Share the Good News and be a Blessing! Have a Blessed Spring and Summer!

Pastor Chuck Kurfman, Highland Hope UMC

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