Most of us have had experiences that have forever changed our lives, either for the better or for the worse. We didn’t know when we got up that morning that before nightfall, our lives would be different, but that’s what happened. Maybe you were in an accident that left you permanently impaired. Or, positively, may-be you met a person who would become your lifelong friend.
Hearing about the Lord Jesus Christ is just such a watershed experience, whether a person recognises it or not. To hear about the unique person of Jesus Christ and what he came to do is a fork in the road of life. From that point, either you go down the path toward eternal life or you turn away toward the complete opposite. You cannot hear about Jesus Christ and remain the same. He draws a line in the sand. Either you cross that line and receive the salvation he offers, or you stay on your side of the line and eventually face his judgment.
Last week we heard of the necessity to be ready for the Son of Man will come at an unexpected hour. Now (Luke 12:49-53) Jesus shows that his purpose was to cast fire on the earth and that fire would cause division, sometimes even amongst family members. So, the disciples need to be prepared for conflict.
Then (12:54-59) Luke records Jesus’ words to the whole multitude, where he chides them for being able to analyse the weather, but unable to recognise the signs of the times, namely that the Messiah is in their very midst.
Since Jesus draws a line that forces us to take sides, we have to ask ourselves which side we prefer. And your answer is?
A task that Margie has commenced in retirement is the sorting of recipes.Some have been cut from magazines and others have been typed out on sheets of paper. Many years ago we bought a copy of the Brighton Grammar cookbook and the only recipe used is for a chocolate cake – its called One for the Boys. Margie bakes this cake so often that she must know the recipe by heart, but I suspect she is afraid that one step or ingredient might be omitted. Why keep a whole book when only one recipe is used? And, of course, for many things now we go online and actually watch
something being prepared step by step.
Today’s gospel reading is giving some good teaching for the Christian life. It might seem demanding, but have you read this story before?
A parishioner bumped into a man who hadn’t been seen at church for a long time. This led to a greeting and the man asked the parishioner why the world was in such a state with signs of poverty even in his suburb. The parishioner really didn’t have all the answers and so suggested that the man pray about it. The response was, “I’ve thought about asking God why he allows poverty to exist, but I’m afraid he might ask me the same question.”
We have asked God this question at Parish Council and this has led to our connection with BayCISS. This doesn’t let us off the hook as individuals. Margie and I talk about donations that we might like to make to charitable agencies annually, but then there other opportunities we have to give to individuals.
The two points that stood out for me were at the beginning and the end. Firstly, “Do not be afraid.” Lastly, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
“Do not be afraid” suggests to me that this is something I can do. Hence a recipe is good for those specific steps and oven temperatures, etc. that will ultimately produce a delicious chocolate cake. I’m not wanting to undermine the gospel by likening it to a recipe, but I do believe that God gives us teaching/visions/ideas and specific commands for many aspects of life. The challenge is to be open to him and obedient.
“… the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” is a reminder to me that God’s grace is sufficient for me and that I can be ready to meet him. It takes me to the beginning “Do not be afraid.” It doesn’t load me with heaps of guilt, but it makes me stay in communication with the Lord Jesus so that I keep following him and hence be ready when he comes.
Talk to the Lord about the next step in your life.
Is it easy to say what you believe? I bet we all have differing views, yet when it comes to the Christian faith there would be much that would overlap for us. For instance, in the prayer books there are creeds – statements about the Christian faith – that most of us would adhere to.
On the All Souls’ website we have:
“All Souls Sandringham is an Anglican church. We believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ gives us the gift of life through his death on the cross and resurrection. This gift is given through faith in Jesus and lived out in community guided by the word of God.”
Then we go on to our focus “Together we go, grow and live in Jesus’ love.” Hopefully this will keep us motivated in our year of outreach.
It is interesting to go to Anglican sites to see what is listed. The Anglican Church of Australia lists the creeds. Go to Anglican Church of Australia, About Us, then What we believe?
On the other hand, if you go to the Church of England, then Our Faith, you will find What we believe? Presented very differently. It is worth checking out both sites.
The important thing is for us to know what we believe. Despite years of reciting creeds very often Anglicans get tongue-tied when asked to explain their beliefs. Spend some time looking at the creeds and ponder how you would explain to somebody the basis of your faith. Use your own words. Your words will be the most convincing, not the religious rhythm of the creeds.
Give the matter some thought and prayer.