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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

TAKE A STAND

Most unexpectedly in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus speaks almost in a
revolutionary way that shocks most Christians when they hear it: "I
have come to set the earth on fire…Do you think that I have come to
establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Luke
12:49-51 He goes on and speaks of causing division between family
members. This is so contrary to our usual image of the Prince of
Peace.

Lay over this passage of the Gospel the reading from Hebrews 12-13 and
you have an important challenge and encouragement to us of faith.

First of all, one thing Jesus does not want of any Christian is to be
a person who "makes peace at any price". Nor does he desire disciples
afraid to speak up just to keep peace. Nor does he encourage bullies,
or those self-indulgent braggarts who love to disrupt people for the
sake of attention.

What you speak for matters. Injustice, dignity of every person, rights
of the disenfranchised and the poor, the outcasts and forgotten of our
society, these are the people Jesus spoke for and for whom he was most
concerned. Just read Mathew 25:31-46 or Luke 16:19-31.

We Christians can get distracted just standing up for the Ten
Commandments and professing our faith. We can get lost in the crowd of
people at the city gates claiming they knew the master of the house
because they ate and drank with him in the streets. Yet he does not
recognize who they are. What grabs the attention are those who
actually do something about the needs of others rather than their own
self-righteousness or satisfying their own needs.

Biblical prophets are all about truth telling. They are not predictors
of future events. Nostradamus they are not. Many get seriously
disappointed in thinking the scripture has laid out the history of
humankind. But speaking the truth to power;, now that is prophecy.
Making the comfortable uncomfortable is the mission of a prophet.
These prophets pay a heavy price. None of these prophets have ever
been able to build a mansion from their message.

As the writer of Hebrews reminds us that true men and women of faith,
true prophets faced raging fires, suffered mocking and flogging,
chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, sawed in two,
killed by the sword, persecuted, and tormented. They were forced to
wander the deserts and mountains living in caves and holes in the
ground. Heb. 11

Fortunately, here in our little piece of the world and time in history
the vast numbers of us are not called to make such sacrifices. But
certainly there are places in our world even today where such heroes
of faith suffer the price for taking a stand, disturbing the peace. To
them we owe not only our prayers but our attention to their cause.

In light of these people, it may seem silly for us to get discouraged
and to give in to apathy. Worse still is for us to just "keep the
peace" when we could speak for what is right. We owe it to those
suffering to take a stand against injustice. or indignity.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us we have not suffered any of these
terrible consequences, so get ourselves together and "lift your
drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees". Heb.12:12

In light of the privilege we have in time and place we cannot be
excused for apathy or lack of action. We will not be recognized by the
one we call "Lord, Lord" if we just refuse to get involved.

Faith requires action. We but need ask God what he may want of us.

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