Sunday, August 18 2019
This morning's Gospel is the sort that might make easily one of David Letterman “Ten Best” pieces that appeared on his show now and then, this time in the category of “The Ten Things You Wish Jesus Had Never Said.” Jesus wonders out loud whether people thought he came to bring a fabricated peace, the peace that would free the Jews from the hated Romans, the peace that seems to end every war, until the next one breaks out. Instead, he tells us that he brings division and it arises when we answer his call, and such an answer is very unnerving as we, who used to sleep in on Sundays or head off to the golf club, all the while telling the local pastor “I can be as close to God on the course as you can in church.” For sure, as you hand over another $20 to your opponent on the second hole and are heard to mutter, “O God”; as we, with, with smiles on our faces and a song in our hearts, leave to attend church.
At ten o'clock we will sing Linda Snow's wonderful hymn “Journey Into Freedom,” a hymn which is a call, a hymn which is sure to bring division if we take it seriously and not merely as a way through the service, but a hymn in which the refrain offers an astonishing truth.
Come with me, journey into freedom,
I am always with you follow me.
Come and drink my living water,
I will set your spirit free.
If you take the time when the service is over to ponder this song and not just dispose of it, you will discover some awesome insights.
Have you ever considered the possibility that the divine author who wrote you into the drama of salvation has created a role for you and “calls you to be who he alone knows you can be”? If you have, then you most likely know that often tacit response to your decision to follow Jesus is a something like “that's nice dear” followed by an inaudible mutter, “not to worry, he [or she] will grow out of it.” But perhaps not you or me. We have heard and responded to two words that changed the world—“Follow me.” And what follows? Ridicule? Division? Loss of respect? Mere lip service? Contempt? But even in this world of ever so many truths, hold fast to the truth of Jesus because he will “give you everything you need.” He is the only one who will never let you down, who, if you fail him will forgive you, who has paid the price for all your sins, who has breathed his last breath for you.
At the end of his wonderful book The Call, my friend Os Guiness makes the following observation at the end of the Introduction: “Answer the call of [God] and see all life as an enterprise transformed by his call. Count the cost, consider the risks, (remember the divisions that will come), but set out each day on an adventure that will multiply your gifts and opportunities and bring glory to God and add value to our world.” My dear, dear friends, come join with me and “journey into [the] freedom” of the risen Christ.