Luke 12: 49-56
Sermon for 9th Sunday after Trinity - 19th August 2019
Gospel reading - Luke 12: 49-56
I heard a confession the other day from Alison – that she watches TV soaps every weekday night. Tony would rather watch something else – he hates them and won’t watch. There’s division in that household every night over the TV remote control!
But seriously, today’s readings about division in households are tough ones – ‘I have come to bring FIRE and DIVISION’ says Jesus.
Most priests take holidays during August – so don’t have to preach on this kind of text!
But we must try and say something about the gospel passage today – especially since its comes so soon after the story of an outraged Jesus overturning tables in the Temple.
Many of Jesus’ hearers found him offensive – regularly.
And he was often deliberately trying to shake them up.
Of course he suffered for speaking God’s word –
he was constantly judged and attacked, and ultimately he was killed
because he challenged people out of their comfort and certainties
with his message of a radical Gospel of
INCLUSION, EQUALITY before God, FORGIVENESS and MERCY
His message broke down the system of exclusion that kept people poor and in their place
His message was of a different Way – the Kingdom of God way.
It was a disruptive message
Too often, you know, we can domesticate Jesus, picture him surrounded by children, Jesus the Good Shepherd
But his message was meant to shake up his hearers and to shake us up too.
Lets take the last few words of today’s gospel passage –
“Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” - to make sense of what is happening in the present time.
- Wealth and celebrity have become false gods and people chase them
- The world is a violent place – young people carry knives and guns
hate speech is tolerated and re-tweeted
powerful men get away with abusing women
- The poor are not fed or adequately housed
- We need to have LAWS to make it wrong to discriminate against people because of their colour, sexual orientation, age, gender, faith, socio-economic status, ethnicity
- the climate is changing so rapidly that vast areas of the world are threatened by famine, or flood, or heat
- We Could Go On couldn’t we
Something is broken.
Did you ever see the slogan “If you don’t think something is wrong, you’re not looking hard enough.”?
Jesus challenges us to look and to see – as he did - what is broken and divided, to “interpret the signs of the times” , and to do something about it.
So his words are not easy to hear in our comfortable churches.
God wanted to shake people with his word then, and I suspect that God wants to shake us now, so that the radical Gospel really means something.
If the Kingdom of God demands more of us than simply coming to church every Sunday - a Kingdom that is of equality, inclusion, mercy, love, peace and justice -
what would it mean for us as a church to let God be at work in us to mend what is broken in the world?