Aloha Friday Message – August 16, 2019 – You’re gonna get fired.

1933AFC081619 – You’re gonna get fired.

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  Luke 12:49-51 49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today’s Key Verse passage comes immediately after the Gospel reading from last week. Jesus has just finished telling people that they cannot let their possessions rule their lives. He has told them a parable about faithful servants who are found prepared and waiting for the return of their master. Their readiness will be rewarded by the master who will put on an apron and wait on them. He describes how a man would prevent a theft if he knew when the thief was coming; since we do not know when Jesus is coming, we must be in a state of constant readiness like the good steward and servants he describes. Then Peter interrupts and asks if that parable is for the Apostles or for everyone. Jesus responds with another parable about the rewards for being vigilant and faithful to the master’s wishes by being prepared to welcome the master on his return “at an unknown hour.”

Then, almost apprehensively it seems, the Lord looks ahead to the finish of his journey to Jerusalem and the anguish he must face there. If we could look at the Greek text of Luke 12:49 we could see that the word-order looks like this: Πῦρ ἦλθον βαλεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ τί θέλω εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη.  Fire I came to cast upon the earth, and how I wish if already it be kindled! The fire he came to cast upon the earth is the fire of judgment. If we will think back to the prophecy of John the Baptist about Jesus’ coming – as recorded in Matthew 3:12 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. This is a pretty common metaphor in the Old Testament. Imagine the hardened soil of a threshing floor somewhere on a windy hillside. There oxen tread upon the grain to break away the husks – the chaff – from the kernels. The gathered sheaves take a pretty serious beating and trampling to loosen the kernels from the husks. Then the wheat and chaff are tossed into the air and the chaff is blown off to the side while the kernels of wheat fall to the floor to be gathered up. Whatever isn’t blown completely away is swept up and burned. So it will be at the time of judgment. Whatever is good will be saved and whatever is not good he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Jesus has come to institute judgment within the Kingdom of God. If the judgment had already been started – had the fire already been kindled – then he would not need to impede it. As he stares into his dark future, however, perhaps he momentarily hopes the suffering he sees ahead will soon be over with; but his time has not fully come. In another passage, some followers invite him to go to Judea to show them the works he has done in Galilee: John 7:2-8 Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (For not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.”

For Jesus, there is still much to do before Gethsemane and Calvary. As he calls into being the Kingdom of God, he establishes a judgment so present and so powerful that it will divide those who accept his message from those who do not – even within families there will be division over what he says and does. This fire of division will cleanse that which is polluted and purify that which is defiled. This purifying fire can only come through that baptism – the pain, suffering, and death in which he must willingly immerse himself – which looms ahead of him as he journeys to Jerusalem. He is intent on completing the work of his Father’s plan regardless of who goes with him or abandons him. Those who turn away will become like the chaff in a whirlwind of fire. Those who follow will find another sort of Fire awaiting them.

Will it be the Fire of Judgment or the Fire of the Spirit? Will we get fired up or fired off? Many of us often pray for the world to be set afire with the Holy Spirit; we pray for a New Pentecost where hearts are set aflame with the love of Christ. For those who bear this Fire of Love, there is indeed division, disunity, and dissension surrounding them. The world shuns that which it does not understand, abhors that which does not love its gratifications, and persecutes everyone who rejects its enticements. Nonetheless, we have a better Life in that Fire which burns without consuming (← Check it out!) Recall this lesson taken at Mark 10:29-3129 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions — and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Belovéd, the line it is drawn, the curse it is cast, “For the times they are a-changin’!” (↔ NOT a Music Link?)They started changing when Christ the King was born in Bethlehem and the second loop of Infinity started on Golgotha in Jerusalem. We’re gonna get fired. Maybe we’ll be like the chaff blown about by the winds of change and burned at the end as the winnowing fan in the Hand of the Man from Galilee drives us into eternity. Maybe we’ll be like the stubble of the fields set ablaze to clear the land for a new beginning. Perhaps we can hope to be worked into earthen containers at the Potter’s hands, and then fired and tempered into vessels storing treasures worth more than gold. Better still, we may be the lamp that is lighted to dispel the darkness and divide the unknown away from the revealed. There is darkness all around us, but there is a Blesséd Light on the horizon. That light is the Fire of the Son, and how I wish it were kindled in every living soul!

This Light – this Holy Fire – comes to us through the Wonderful Grace of Jesus. (↔ Music Link) It is Grace that that divides us from the World, turns away the Darkness, and draws us and everyone we meet to God’s perfect Integrity, Endless Mercy, and Eternal Salvation through Christ our Lord AMEN!!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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