August 15, 2004

Luke 12:49-56

[49] "I've come to start a fire on this earth--how I wish it were blazing right now! [50] I've come to change everything, turn everything rightside up--how I long for it to be finished! [51] Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront! [52] From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be--

Three against two,
and two against three;
[53] Father against son,
and son against father;
Mother against daughter,
and daughter against mother;
Mother-in-law against bride,
and bride against mother-in-law."

[54] Then he turned to the crowd: "When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming'--and you're right. [55] And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be a hot one'--and you're right. [56] Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don't tell me you can't tell a change in the season, the God-season we're in right now.

[The Message]

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1. Sometimes I think that this is the picture a congregation has of an intentional interim pastor. We just don't leave "well enough" alone because it isn't "well" enough. Folks long for our task to be done because it sometimes simply gets too hot in the kitchen.

If you are not helping start fires here on earth are you complicit in the status quo which, GOD help us, is not what is to be?

2. Disruption and confrontation are not easy images for us to associate with Jesus. In these days, when Jesus is in bed with the President, Jesus no longer challenges us, but is a functionary to further control us. No wonder he was politically strung up, hung out to dry. In person he would not brook a diminution in his freedom to attend to GOD and this is anathema to powers that be.

3. One of the gifts needed in the church is that of cross referencing. This is important in any work with Word or words. What is the interplay between what we know in one arena of life and that of another? We keep compartmentalizing life, partly to survive (note Bill Clinton's new book) and that very dividing up of life keeps us separated from ourselves (as well as others). It is difficult, life-long work to cease being a fraud - refusing to use what we know of regular life in understanding what we can know of the mysterious and irregular life we can travel with GOD.

To be a fraud is to be intentionally perverse. While we can go astray easy enough, it is that extra added quality of intentionality that makes this particularly grievous to Jesus. There are none so blind as those who will not see. May those who intentionally stray find the mercy they need to open their eyes and choose to see the signs in their life and follow them to new life.

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