Dear friends in Christ,
I suspect that few preachers will be delighted to see the Gospel reading set down for this Sunday. Luke 12:49-55 is a challenging text not least of all because it feels so out of character with the Jesus we know as the Prince of Peace. This is the gift of the lectionary; we are forced to confront passages that we would rather not. This passage perhaps serves to remind us that Christ defies our attempts to reduce his teaching to simple slogans.
We might also glean from the text that the allegiance Jesus asks of us is total. The household was the basic social and economic unit in the surrounding culture. The management of the household (oikonomia in Greek, from where we get the word economics) was a metaphor for the wise rule of a king and even God’s providence. For Jesus to claim that his coming would divide households is even more shocking than it appears in a modern context. Nothing will be left unchallenged by the Christ event.
As we continue to work out the implications of our own allegiance to Christ in this part of the world, our final pre-Synod meeting is via Zoom tonight. Synod is our chance to gather as the local church to discern God’s will for our mission together. Please pray for the preparations for Synod and for me as I work to discern the message I bring as preacher for our Synod Eucharist.
Please also pray for bishops travelling home from the Lambeth Conference, especially for +Peter and Teresa. While much coverage of Lambeth has focussed on issues of human sexuality, there was plenty more on the agenda including some of the biggest questions that confront us as Christians and, indeed, humans. Please pray that a shared sense of commitment to God’s mission among our Bishops will enliven God’s Church.
Wherever your allegiance to Jesus takes you this week may you be especially aware of the love that God holds out in him to all people.