Luke 12:49-56 (NRSV)
Verse 49"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Verse 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Verse 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! Verse 52From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; Verse 53they 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."
Verse 54He 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. Verse 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. Verse 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and vaccinations have caused divisions in our society even between family members. Christian people have strong views on both sides of those issues and have become increasingly critical and even hateful toward those whose views differ from their own. Is this what Jesus meant when he said he would cause divisions? I’m not sure. I do know divisions have been a part of human existence from the beginning. I wonder if Jesus’ fire of judgment is not so much against divisions but all the hate that is generated toward other people. Maybe we should change the song to “They will know we are Christians by our hate?” Yes, divisions are and always will be a part of life, but can’t love be exhibited in the midst of divisions even in families? After all, didn’t Jesus call on us to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?” (Mathew 5:43b)
Dear Jesus, please be with all the families who have been torn apart by divisions. Bring healing and forgiveness. Let your love of enemies be an example for families to imitate. Amen.