August 13

Luke 12:49-53

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” vs. 51

Not everything that we read in the gospels brings joy to our hearts. Oh, there is much that is beautiful and inspiring, but Luke wasn’t in the business of censoring Jesus. Even when his words were disquieting and disturbing, Luke included them because they were a true reflection of what life in Christ is like. Jesus had indeed come to bring in the peaceable kingdom, but life in it wouldn’t always be peaceful. So when we see division in the Body, it should not surprise us. Politics isn’t the only thing that can cause families to splinter–we can have ugly differences about matters of faith as well. We can’t always predict those moments of dissension, but they often come in those times when religious people try to stifle the Spirit by codifying traditions and exercising exclusion. Those are the dark days of the Church, the times of witch hunts, crusades, racism and inquisition–and they keep on happening. And it gets even worse in those eras when religion becomes politicized! Some would say that we are living through such a time right now. The challenge for people of faith is enormous. To maintain the integrity of the gospel we have to put a check on our religious and political tendences and focus on loving unconditionally–every day in every way with every one we meet!

Thought for the Day: How are differences challenging my congregation?

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