August 18th, 2019
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:
First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
Second Reading: Hebrews 11:29-12-2
Gospel: Luke 12:49-56
Your Faith and Hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21)
Our lessons today are about, judgement, suffering, faith and salvation.
Our Gospel reading today reminded me about my childhood and listening to preachers that preached fire and brimstone. They left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I always felt that, the same people who showed up for church on Sunday, we were never good enough, no matter what we did, we had to fear God, or else.
“Bringing fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.”
Jesus said, “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?
This verse is about judgement and our salvation. When Jesus says, I wish it were already kindled, it sounds like Jesus wants it to be over. He is going to be baptized and it represents both judgement and purification. So, he is saying let’s get on with it.
Jesus knows by his coming, teaching, death and his resurrection, there will be conflict and division among all people, family against family and friends against friends.
He is explaining, that they can predict the weather and all kinds of weather, from every direction and something that will happen tomorrow! But they can’t see what’s in front of their faces. He has been healing and teaching and after returning back to them, he brings peace. And yet they still have not realized, that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God represents a new order.
Our scriptures today are difficult to hear, we want to hear the warm fuzzy scriptures that fill us with hope and joy and make us feel good. But we need to hear the other side of the story, the other side of the Gospel, because in today’s world there is still division among families, friends and people across the world.
Religion and your belief are on the attack.
- Christians and Jews are still being persecuted every day in other parts of the world. Also, India, China and parts of Africa, continue to face oppositions.
- We see where churches are being burned in the south. Jewish synagogues and Mosques being bombed.
- People everyday protest, when we send out our thoughts and prayers for victims of violence.
- Certain groups of people want free standing crosses removed or taken down, because it is not what they believe or want to see.
- The Ten Commandments, In God we Trust, the pledge, One Nation under God, all being challenged.
We know following Christ will not always be easy or painless, but reminding us of hope and salvation and not losing sight of the world that is to come. The Apostle Paul reminds us of our Faith when he writes to the Hebrews.
“Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not apart from us, be made perfect.”
“Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfected of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life“ (John 8:12)
Have you had some challenges that were unpleasant and for whatever reason, you just wish it was all over? Have you ever had to defend God and your faith? What would you say or do, if you were asked not to wear your cross?
God loves us all and we don’t have to fear God. God does not take pleasure in our suffering; this is why he sent Jesus to be the light to our world. And when there is darkness, he wants our faith to grow stronger.
“Blessed are those who turn to me in their trouble, for I am a God of mercy and compassion.”
Our faith and hope are in God, keeping our eye on the Kingdom of God and our salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)