Sunday, August 14, 2016
New Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, IL
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
There are quite a few pastors out of town this week, following the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans. And I imagine that a lot of them are probably thinking the same thing right about now: “Thank God I don’t have to preach on this text this weekend!”
These eight verses from Luke are among the most challenging verses of the entire New Testament. The harsh and divisive language that Jesus uses doesn’t really match up with the way that most of us tend to think about him. I mean, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd who gathers all the sheep together into his fold, even sheep that don’t belong to his fold, uniting them all in the one family of his father. This is the savior who healed the sick and told us to love one another. So what’s the deal with this text? Was Jesus just having a bad day? Continue reading