Pentecost III, Not peace but a sword
Genesis 21:8-21,Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39
There is a lot of material in the readings for today, but the two questions which jump out at me are;
How is our soul harmed? And why would Jesus say he did not come to bring peace but a sword?
I just cannot help thinking that these two are connected.
We harm the soul of others with words and attitude that are hurtful and demeaning, that are in essence dragging the person down and taking away their sense of hope. And we can harm our own soul by the negative voices we hear in our heads that are echoes of what authority figures have said to us in the past, and thus settling for less than we can be.
This means being a strong enough person to stand on one’s own within community. I am reminded of the question I ask couples coming for marriage preparation. At some point I get around to asking them how they fight and argue and how their parents did as well.
The first answer out of their mouths is; we don’t fight we’re in love. The reality is; there has to be some sort of working out their differences and it isn’t healthy if one person gives in to the other all the time to avoid conflict, but finding ways of working through the disagreement.
Churches are just as bad at not learning how to fight fairly, and say we’re Christians we don’t fight.
And the quick definition of monastic community is living under the same roof with those you don’t like.
That is at a personal and family way of looking at this, and it makes sense for Father’s Day, that we realize we can love one another without always agreeing.
But there is a larger issue as we see the protests about systemic racism and issues of inequality.
And the National Indigenous Day of Prayer
The issue seems to be about equal treatment, and the distribution of resources. For myself as a white male is to realize that I have and am benefiting from the inequality of treatment and opportunities. That is the first step, and we often take so much for granted.
But this makes sense to me because the question is; what world do I want to live in, and my grand children?
This is about living out the movement toward the kingdom of God were all have a place at the table.
Psalm 23 You prepare a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me.
So be to be at the table is to be included but there may be those who trouble us and maybe we trouble them.
Jesus may not be making a claim about himself, but warning us about moving forward, and any change will be by definition met with resistance. I have also said that to take up your cross is about sacrifice, yes, but to be on the cross is to be in relationship with God in Christ as the vertical part, and with our neighbours and the rest of God’s Creation as the horizontal piece, and working for real peace with dignity for all.
Your may have other thoughts about this, And you can e-mail me if you would like,