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Bulletin Insert

BULLETIN INSERT   Lismore Anglican Parish Sunday 14th August 2016 – Pentecost 13C

A House Divided

The Gospel reading this week is difficult and uncomfortable, but very significant. Jesus calls his disciples to discern the times, specifically referring to the growing frustration with Rome’s rule over Israel, and the inevitable destruction that will result if the people resist the Empire’s might. And the history books show this is exactly what happened.

Jesus speaks to modern readers of a division that flows from our responses to our times: do we discern wisely? Do we choose the way of the cross?

When we ignore justice, and thereby condone the oppression of the vulnerable, God is both saddened and angered, and, as indicated in Isaiah’s prophecy, will bring about judgement.

The image of the well-tended vineyard that is destroyed for failing to produce good fruit is a familiar and powerful metaphor.

We are warned that there will always be those who turn their eyes from injustice, pretending it doesn’t exist, or not wanting to get involved.

And there will always be those who will repent, and embrace the sacrifice and rejection that comes from speaking and acting in truth, confronting the wrongs of the world in order to bring justice and peace. And there will always be division between truth speakers (and doers) and truth deniers – between defenders of justice and defenders of the status quo. This is the cross we are called to carry.

 

    Adapted from http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2016/07/proper-15c-ordinary-20c-12th-sunday-after-pentecost/

 

Hebrews 11:29-12:2   NRSV  

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

121Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Luke 12:49-59 NRSV

49“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

52From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”