"The futures so Bright, We gotta wear Shades" is our theme for rally day this year and a statement that will take us into the fall church year and includes the goal of calling a new Pastor for Prince of Peace.
"The futures so bright."
The preaching Gospel this week is Luke 12:49-56 (see the whole text below) and like many Gospel readings is a lot more challenging than it is comforting. Jesus says "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!" His statement mirrors and reminds us of all the tensions surrounding the ongoing presidential politics we find ourselves in the middle of. But for Jesus, this is both a statement of his current reality (who follows him vs who fights against him) and also hints at the completion of his ministry on earth on his cross. This also reflects the division that happens so regularly in religion (and in Christian vs Christian) and includes Prince of Peace.
Jesus was teaching by example, by healing, by casting out evil spirits, and by preaching that God is a God active in the world, and is loving and forgiving and is as intimate as a "loving" father. Jesus says again and again in the gospels, "Do not be afraid." This was very different from the God that the people of Jesus' day knew. They only knew God as a God to be feared and who was wrathful. This was especially true if you failed to follow the very specific religious rules and regulations of the culture they lived in.
Some people understood what Jesus was teaching and others did not. Many people were terrified of breaking the religious/cultural rules and being punished by both their community and God's wrath. So it is easy to see how great tensions and family feuds surrounded the growing church for centuries to follow. And then because politics and culture were also involved, it only got more severe.
So here is the challenge for us as I see it. We are invited to build this church (Prince of Peace and the larger whole church) into a church that truly follows the "Great Commandment" of loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbors as ourselves. In this "Great Commandment" we are challenged to welcome all of God's children into our faith community (our neighbors) as equals, just as we welcome and enjoy each other each week at worship. We are invited to share the unconditional love of God, being cared for and caring and reaching out with the same unconditional love of God to the world around us.
"The futures so Bright, We gotta wear Shades"
"What are we going to do with all this Grace, Forgiveness and Love?"
Interim Pastor Craig Storlie
"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they 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." He 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. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, "There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?