What??? Jesus is anti-family Luke 14:25-35

The words of Jesus are harsh, maybe too harsh for our ears to hear.  Family is so central to what we are in life.  What politician doesn’t carry the banner of being pro-family?  Any organization seeking new members wants to be seen as supportive of family and uses family events as part of their recruitment efforts.  Family Values may be a rallying cry but families do struggle trying to hold all things together.  The addiction to screen time on the phone takes away family attentiveness to each other.  Sports teams and other activities pull families in different directions trying to keep up with loyalty demands.  Now Jesus is talking about hating family…hating life…the need to take up our cross to be his disciple…sell all possessions to be his disciple.

Jesus is inviting one and all to sit down and sort through the demands of discipleship.  He is asking us to weigh the consequences of choosing a different way of life that he is modeling for us.  The current way of life is consumed with possessions.  We possess the things we purchase.  We think we can possess people by seeking to control spouse, children, parents, etc.  Life is something we assume that can be owned.  In the end, we are possessed by things we think we control.  This we call life.  However, Jesus is telling us to give up possessions.

Jesus is inviting us to a different way of life called discipleship.  Jesus is personally on his way to Jerusalem where he will find a cross in his future.  The cross meant death for him in this world’s terms but to the glory of the Father, Jesus was raised to life in God’s terms.  Jesus is telling us we must also take up the cross if we are to find life in God’s terms as well.

Will this cause a scowl as the phone is put down?  Absolutely.  Will there be division in the family over priorities?  Of course.  Is the coach going to be angry?  You bet.  Are you going to reconsider job and career goals?  Very likely.  Are you going to examine how you participate and support the ways that bring about injustice or violence to others or creation?  For sure.  How about ‘hating’ the ways of this world to know life as God gives — this is the cost that must be considered.

Jesus’ words are harsh to hear regarding the cost of discipleship.  Yet to take up the cross is to discover family and life in a whole new way — God’s terms.  For this, we must all weigh the cost.


An idle tale? Luke 24:1-12

We have come to Easter and we know what that means for the day.  We gather with the family and enjoy lots of food.  The couple pounds lost from denying ourselves chocolate will be replaced with a couple pounds more to spare as we devour the Easter candy.  Sometime during the day, we need to contend with the message of Easter.  Is the resurrection an idle tale?  Or, has the resurrection of Christ set creation on a new path to be made new?

On the first day of the week, women went to the tomb of Jesus.  They went there like we all do when going to a cemetery.  We go to tell stories.  We weep.  We grieve.  We seek to find a new normal without the person we loved.  However on this morning, the tomb was empty and two men in dazzling appearance asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  The two men reminded the women of Jesus’ words of being crucified and raised on the third day.  The women ran to tell the disciples who considered their words nothing more than an idle tale.

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s judgment against the darkness of the world.  The likes of Herod and Pilate denying justice to the innocent and who give in to mob rule for political peace are judged.  The chief priests and the mob crying for the death of Jesus while preferring the release of a criminal are judged.  Our world where Jesus walked among the outcast and poor was judged.  Our world where death is granted ultimate power is judged as a fraud.  The real power is in God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus happened on the first day of the week.  The first day which goes back to the start of creation when God spoke and light shined in the darkness.  The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new creation.  All creation is now to be set free from sin and the darkness.  Light is shining.

The women were asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  Why are they still looking for the old ways of death when a new creation has now begun in Christ risen?  The disciples called the message delivered an ‘idle tale’ because their thoughts were still on the old ways.  This Easter the message confronts us as well.

If we are content with leadership that allows injustice to reign, where the innocent are allowed to suffer, where political peace is preferred over the truth then the resurrection is an idle tale.

If we are content with the hungry not being fed, the sick refused care and the outcast to be shunned and condemned as unworthy, then the resurrection is an idle tale.

If we are content with creation being exploited for profit rather than protected and cared for, then we are pushing the darkness upon it and the resurrection is an idle tale.

The message for this Sunday is, “Christ is Risen!”  Will we receive it as the good news it is for all creation?  Will we treat it as an idle tale?  The difference is to be in the past’s darkness or live in the light of God who raises the dead to a new life.