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August 14, 2016: Proper 15 / Ordinary 20 / Pentecost +13

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Luke 12:49-56

49“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;53they 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.”

54He 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. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

When I was younger I never really understood this verse.. Why would Jesus want to cause conflict in families? and have them divided against each other?  As an adult I understand a lot better. As I have got older I have watched and found myself and my family developing certain views about things.. How we raise our kids, what to do about money, how we treat people of different races, our politic views, what we think about God.. Even people who have been raised in the same family can end up with very different world views and ideas about how things should be done..

The way of Jesus is very counter cultural, Jesus says greed is not good, western culture needs greed to keep the economics of the world to keep moving. Be compassionate to the stranger and the downtrodden, in a culture of fear and individualism only look after those you love and trust.

The next section of the reading doesn’t make sense out of context.. Leading up to this Luke has been going back and forwards between relax, God loves you and will take care of you to be ready be prepared if you are not found doing the right thing you will end up punished for it.. For me the next verse (57) makes it all make sense… “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”  This tirade comes out of a man coming to Jesus to ask him to sort things out with his family over a will.. If people are living for justice, compassion and if everyone is working on this agenda it should all be simple, right?.. But it is not.. Not everyone is working towards the same agenda.. Ironically too is that sometimes we can be working towards the same agenda but have very different ways of going about it..

The challenge from Jesus, why are you not judging for yourself what is right, you are smart cookies  you can know a whole bunch of things about the world around you, So where is the wisdom? The thing I noticed in drawing this reading this week is in these two examples he gave they were about seeing something and know what was going to happen as a consequence of that.. I wonder if Jesus is asking us to look at all of our lives and ask the same question?

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