Pondering for Sunday: August 18, 2019

Eucharistic Readings for Sunday Proper 15 Year C Track 2

Jeremiah 23:23-29 Psalm 82 Hebrews 11:29-12:2 Luke 12:49-56

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”  (Luke 12: 51)

Jesus is now informing them and us that a moment of decision has come and we must decide which side we are going to fall out on.  This is literally a fork in our faith road.  It is to believe or not to believe and then to act accordingly. To turn toward one person or value or goal is to turn away from another. “Peace in the sense of status quo has been disrupted.” (Says Fred B. Craddock writing for Interpretation; a Bible Commentary on Luke p. 166)

God is acting toward the world in Jesus of Nazareth and has created a breaking point.  We must break to one side or the other. We cannot have it both ways. It is one thing to say that you don’t believe in God or Jesus or the Church.  It is a much weightier thing to try to live that out. Lord have mercy.  We all are going to be thrown out of this life. And there is only One who will catch us, if we are to be caught.

When I told my mother many years ago that I had joined the Episcopal Church I noticed a sudden sense of urgency in her. She wanted to know if I believed in Jesus.  And, she wanted to know if I still celebrated Christmas and Easter.  After I assured her I did to all of the above, she was fine. I am always amazed about how little people know about the Episcopal Church.

While my mother did not bring us up as a “churched family,” It was important to her that we trusted in Jesus.  She wanted to us to believe. This brings us back to the division that Jesus talks about in Luke today.  There will be division on this issue even within households and families. What does it mean to choose on the side of Jesus? I have found four paths and a possible fifth.

First, If you believe in Jesus you already believe in God. And God is good, All the time.

Second, you can believe God sent Jesus or that God is in Jesus. Christian churches have waged war over this issue rather that care for the needy. They seemed to worry more about what people say they  believed about Jesus rather than how they followed Jesus.

Third, believing in Jesus means we are called together with like-minded (not hate minded) worshipers weekly to remember him in the Sacraments, the Body and Blood as He commanded us to do.

Fourth, (and this is too often missed) we are called to care for those who differ from us: Even those who don’t believe, to feed them, clothe them, heal them, and when the time comes, to bury them.

The possible fifth path is, to teach and baptize and or confirm those who want to come and join us.

This is a division, a breaking point in our faith lives. Often it is a thankless decision of division. But this is what Jesus came to do.  He says, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”  And he has done it. This is the Baptism he came to receive and is now completed. A decision of division lies in your path. Which way will you go?

Let us ponder anew what the almighty is doing.  John+

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