Saturday, August 20, 2016

Jesus brings division....


49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they 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.”
Interpreting the Time
54 He 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. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

What’s up with Jesus?  Does this even sound like him?
Even though he’s talking here with his closest friends, nevertheless, it’s disturbing…

Families torn apart?
Is that what the guy whose name we claim brings?

While a case can be made for what response a radical righteousness produces, what concerns me is that this is the self-description of every demagogue that comes along. Or people in extreme positions. Jesus language has an apocalyptic sense like Trump’s “Midnight in America ” speeches. It’s especially hard in what feels like one of the most divided times in our country. It almost feels like  Jesus is glorying in that division.

First, let’s look at the context….he speaks of a baptism…he sees that what lies head for him is like  a baptism, a baptism of fire, as we say…Jerusalem is inevitable.  He can see where this is leading.  To go against the church and state, the establishment, the empire, yes , that will bring division….

As I quoted from Mary Gautier last week:
My church and my country could use a little mercy now
As they sink into a poisoned pit it's going to take forever to climb out
They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down
I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now

Let’s look closer at  what he’s feeling… Συνέχομαι  distressed, hard pressed, in a diificult strait, in a tight place…
He’s feeling STRESS
He is IN A TIGHT SPOT, in a STRAIGHT   (it’s like in Hebrew,  the word mtrzrayim, it’s the word for Egypt, but it also means the narrow place, the tight place…talking about that has become part of the passover seder..)..
Should we tell Jesus to maybe do some mindfulness work? Take up yoga?
Are you under stress/ tension? What makes up yours?
Also….he feels we can’t read the times….again, that’s hard…facing what we’re facing these days…
Our homeless population has once again risen from 60,000 to now almost 80000…what’s going on? That’s why we’re seeing so many around…There’s boundless spirit around us...,but it feels like it’s all circulating in a small circle. 

We’ve got a candidate for our highest office who says our president founded the world’s worst terror organization (that actually could  have been argued for another president)

There's no progress on the climate  crisis
What do you read?  In the signs of these days?
One of our congregation feels like Hilary and Trump are actually in cahoots together.  Old friends, invited wedding gests, etc. And that Trump is so outrageous just to guarantee Hilary wins. Another is mainly worried about her children. And another sees hope and possibility out of the definitive clarity of the moment.
Is division inevitable?  We’re not sure.
Today, after the scripture, I sang Blowin in the Wind, by Bob Dylan, remembering his line You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…
Things are quieter now that Restoration ministries has moved on to Judson Church for their services. Though the volume of their worship often gave me a headache, I nevertheless miss their eclectic blend of rocking pentecostalism, progressive social perspective and African American prayer and worship while being openly and celebretary.. queer.  I will definitely miss them.

Thanks again, Leila

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