Living in the Spirit
June 22, 2014
Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:16, 24-39
‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 10:16, 34-39
I do not know if Jesus meant to be prophetic when he said this scripture, but he certainly describes our world today. Even our church families are in disharmony. Some do not believe these were Jesus’ words because they contradict other of his sayings and because it quotes him as speaking in first person which is rare for him. Whether they were spoken by Jesus or crafted by a church community, they present a thorny issue for first century families who were literally being pulled apart by some choosing to leave their tradition and follow the new Way, being preached about this man Jesus. Today, our church families are being severed by disputes over interpretations of scripture. The above scripture actually relies on Micah so the problems even dates back to the 8th century BCE and probably to be beginning of time.
Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one;
guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace;
for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; your enemies are members of your own household. Micah 7: 5-6
What often happens is those involved end up not speaking to each other, moving away from home, or splitting off into separate churches. For a group charged to be one, we have a long way to go! It is time that instead of splitting we start covenantal conversations in which we really listen to one another without judgment and prayerfully glean together those things we hold as one and turn the things about which we do not agree back to God to guide us in future conversations.
Prayer: Teach us to start covenantal conversations in prayer and the expectation of discernment. Amen.
*Funk, Robert W.; Hoover, Roy W., and the Jesus Seminar. The five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? Harper and Row, 1997.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.