"I've come to start a fire on this earth--how I wish it
were blazing right now! I've come to change everything, turn
everything rightside up--how I long for it to be finished! Do
you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice?
Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront! From now on, when
you find five in a house, it will be --
Three against two,
and two against three;
Father against son,
and son against father;
Mother against daughter,
and daughter against mother;
Mother-in-law against bride,
and bride against mother-in-law!
Then he turned to the crowd: "When you see clouds coming
in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming'--and you're right.
And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be
a hot one'--and you're right. Frauds! You know how to tell a
change in the weather, so don't tell me you cant tell a change
in the season, the God-season we're in right now.
<The Message >
We have just heard significant issues of economics and mind-set
in the last couple of weeks. There were positive directions set
and we know that it has been and is difficult for us to follow
through on such high expectations as Jesus'.
In light of our not following through on the better way, we now
hear a challenging word for the institutions we have become.
Even those who claim they are following the Spirit find that
there are patterns established in their language and thought-forms
which have become solidified and measure their self-perceived
success. Is there no end to loading on a daily cross? Is there
no end to reformation? Is there no end to rough places (our smooth
paving resources run so short, so soon)?
As we listen to this passage we get the idea that Jesus would
like to be a refiner's fire in our particular life--changing
everything about us. Some of what needs changing is obvious to
ourselves and everyone. Some of what needs changing is still
unconscious to ourselves but obvious to others. Some of what
needs changing is obvious to us but well-hidden from others.
Some of what needs changing is not on the radar screen of either
ourselves or others.
Whichever configuration best describes our life, we need to be
put rightside up. Ready or not, change is on the way. Will we
meet it half-way or will we wait until all of us needs burning
Just when does summer shift into autumn? It sort of depends at
what latitude one is located. This feels primarily like a temperate
zone question. I remember being in the southern Philippines and
the way in which we tried to mark Christmas by going to the highlands
of the northern Philippines for a little pine tree atmosphere.
It is amazing how conditioned we become to the images of a God-season
like Christmas and insist on such static images of incarnation.
We have developed some skill in figuring out short-term cause-and-effects
but the larger swings are still very mysterious to us. I don't
know that looking at life seasonally instead of birthday to birthday
or weather from here to the horizon is outside our abilities,
but it does seem to mainly be outside our interest. We seem quickly
satisfied and easily project today into every future and don't
see that every tyrant (including our own imagination) eventually
How now do I continue to see the birth/presence of GOD among
us while trapped into the way in which it has been seen before.
May the fire soon burn the scales from our eyes and hearts.
Hey, wanna fight!? We certainly seem to be able to do so at the
drop of a pin or a hat or whatever. This division is also heard
in the old song, "You only hurt the one you love."
With each of us at different spots on a journey it is no wonder
we so easily come apart at the seams. Even goods, and maybe particularly
with goods, we find ourselves in disagreement. [note" The
word "good/goods" in the the previous sentence can
refer to both values and economic.]
So what family won't we fight with? Whatever answer you can dream
up for this question is a starting point for expanding the categories
of those with whom we might creatively live. Eventually we are
called to love GOD, neighbor, self, one another, and enemies.
From where will you start expanding from until all five categories
Hey, wanna fight!? Nope.
Hey, wanna get over it!? Yep.
Pay attention to the "movement" of life.
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