You know, I can’t believe it’s August already (actually, well into August). Before we know it (and please spare my life for saying this, students and teachers) school will start and we’ll be back in the routine of most of the year. Somehow, this summer seems to have gone really fast, for me and for my kids. They are just getting into summer mode with staying up late and playing more video games than we would ever let them during the school year.
Aaaaand maybe that isn’t a good thing. Well, for us parents, at least. For them, it’s great! They love their games of course and will play every waking moment if we ever gave them half the chance. They are happy as heck when they’re playing, but then they are told to stop… and all hell breaks loose.
Whining, complaining, sometimes even tears happen when it’s time for a break. Shouts of how it isn’t fair that they didn’t get enough time behind their screen (like 2 and a half hours isn’t enough somehow). Then name calling and finger pointing ensues. And then I always get this sinking feeling that I’m the “mean dad” for not letting them play for, like, ever.
But then I remember a saying that I saw on some short-lived TV show where this lawyer was talking about his kids. He said, “I’m your father, not your friend.”
Sometimes we have to lay down the law. We can’t make people happy all the time, but we do this to bring out real good in the world and for those under our care. And besides, at the rate my kids are going they’re going to be better than me at video games, and you know we can’t have that…
“Do you think I’ve come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”
We don’t like these words of Jesus. Not one bit. because Jesus is supposed to be the nice one, the one who loves and cares, the guy who is sometimes called the “Prince of Peace” and now he says he isn’t here to bring peace? What?
So I wonder if this is a moment in which we’d say that “Jesus is our Saviour, not our friend.” Well, I think these folk would beg to differ:
But seriously, what is going on? What does Jesus mean? Well, I think many times some of my friends who aren’t exactly on board with change and progress in the church in terms of inclusion and ecumenical practices would say that the need for tolerance and welcome have no place in God’s hard and strict rules for who is in and who isn’t. They would reference this particular passage saying that Jesus didn’t come to make everyone happy, but to divide the sheep and the goats.
But I don’t think that is what is happening. I think Jesus’ division is about how following him, and following him hard can cause division, much like how Jesus’ over arching welcome and care for those who the church didn’t want to welcome and care eventually got Jesus killed. The division isn’t separating those who welcome and love too much away from the church, but rather it is those who love segregation and exclusion separating themselves away from the church by their very need to draw lines in the sand and define the different between “us” and “them”.
But Jesus calls for social justice. Jesus calls for inclusion and equality. Jesus calls for love.
And sometimes that love is too much for those who would rather not, so they go their separate ways. But it is and has always been my prayer that in spite of their decision to leave, they will always be welcome.
Have a great week, everyone!