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2016.08.11 Trinity 12

SERMON (based on Luke 12:49-56)

 

There seems to be an extraordinary amount of division within modern society.  There is anger, bitterness, animosity and resentment, between two Americans who both want to be leader of the most powerful country in the world.

 

A labour party in the UK squabbling and bickering, even in the courts about who best represents the right leadership for the working people of GB

 

A group of militants in the Middle East, prepared not only to plunge the world back into the dark ages, but also prepared to publicly execute anyone who does not conform to

their beliefs and opinions

 

People use social media to argue and condemn and vilify each other, to the effect that we now have a new phenomenon called cyber bullying which has caused a number of youngsters to take their own life

 

With this sort of division, and much more, present in society these days it seems the last thing we need is a gospel text that seems to encourage more division. We live in a broken and divided world

 

Jesus lets those that are gathered around him know that following him will not be easy, particularly because the gospel will not always bring peace. Families were being torn apart when the gospel spread because it changed everything. Given our contexts today, this may not always happen with us. There could though, be some disagreement or strife in families as the nature of the call is worked out and understood.

 

Whether it is to attend church, engage in social justice issues, or whatever, the gospel’s call on our lives can create division. It took 20 years from the time that I first received my call into ordained ministry, to get to the stage of being ordained into the church. This was because I needed to realise, and understand, that my primary calling was to married life. The nature of any future calling for both me and Barbara needed to be worked out and understood in the context of children and family life

 

If I had have pursued my calling outside of this context, then I may not have been standing here before you today, and all of my family, including me would have suffered much strife and division

 

A big problem in life is our need to be in control. Or is it just our own selfishness and lack of humility, in believing that we are the ones who are right, or at the very least, we are closer to the truth that anyone else

 

The great wisdom teachers and mystics say in various ways that we cannot truly see or understand anything if we begin with a no.  We have to start with a yes of basic acceptance. This means we do not too quickly, label things, analyse, or categorize things as in or out or good or bad

 

We need to strive to live out our lives as our true selves, as the people we are called to be in Christ. Living our life as our true self is ensuring that everything we do, every decision we make, is guided by the love of God in us, and this love, cannot be exhausted.

 

Living out of our True Self involves positive choice, and conscious understanding, rather than resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness. It is not easy to live this way, but it is the life we are called to live. It often takes a lifetime of prayer and honest self-observation to stop judging and starting with no.

 

 

Lack of humility is mankind’s greatest enemy. We need to sit loose with our own viewpoints, even as we seek to share them in the world. We need to look for truth in positions with which we disagree. We need to recognise that our own viewpoints have limitations. We need to understand that our certainties may seem false to people of good faith.

 

And yet, we continue the journey, trusting that God is at work in our lives, that our openness to God will give us new insights, and that our futures are in God’s hands, despite our imperfection, and despite the imperfection of those around us

 

What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God

 

Amen


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