The Rev. Dr. Mobby Larson is a retired pastor, having served several churches in the New London Association. She does pulpit supply, preaches at handbell festivals, and plays with grandchildren.
Scripture: Luke 12:49-56 (CEV)
I came to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already on fire! I am going to be put to a hard test. And I will have to suffer a lot of pain until it is over. Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides. A family of five will be divided, with two of them against the other three. Fathers and sons will turn against one another, and mothers and daughters will do the same. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law will also turn against each other.
Jesus said to all the people:
As soon as you see a cloud coming up in the west, you say, “It’s going to rain,” and it does. When the south wind blows, you say, “It’s going to get hot,” and it does. Are you trying to fool someone? You can predict the weather by looking at the earth and sky, but you don’t really know what’s going on right now.
Reflection:A House Divided
ign of the times…signs of all times. Words for our time.
This is one of those hard passages from Scripture. This just doesn’t sound like Jesus—the loving Savior. What happened to “honor your father and mother” and “love one another as I have loved you”? What’s all this about divisions and dire predictions coming from Jesus?
Throughout history we have read of nations and families divided, most notably during our own Civil War. It’s not a new idea. But, personally, I have never felt the pain of division as much as today. Our country is torn apart. We don’t know which other nations are our friends from one day to the next. The media is classified as black or white—depending, of course, on your point of view. Many of us have friends and family members with whom we cannot hold a conversation about anything political. The media is classified as black or white—depending, of course, on your point of view.
I would have thought that Jesus wants us to all get along together, but this passage seems to say that he is bringing division and suffering. What gives?
There is no simple answer to this question. Like other difficult passages, I have to interpret it through my understanding of Jesus. What is the most important thing to him? I believe it is bringing people to God. All else is secondary to that mission—peace among nations, personal opinions, love within a family.
Sometimes this dichotomy brings difficult decisions to each of us. There may be times we have to turn a different way when our love of God is a stronger call than our politics, than our own family. Sometimes we have to choose sides. God help us!
Holy God, Life is so confusing sometimes. We are pulled one way or another, trying to love everyone and you, too. And sometimes, that is just not possible, we have learned. When our way is not clear, and our souls are split asunder, be with us and guide us. Teach us to listen for your voice, and follow. Amen
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For a safe, productive year for all the college students who will begin moving back to their schools in the weeks to come
- For those grieving or suffering in China after a typhoon left almost 30 dead
- For the Rev. Timothy Gilbert, Pastor of The Congregational Church of Union (CT) UCC, upon the death of his brother Jim Gilbert on August 6
- For Rev. Kent Siladi, Conference Minister of the CT Conference, who will have surgery to repair an injury to his right elbow
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the staff and volunteers who made the 2019 Summer Camp Season at Silver Lake Conference Center another transformational experience for hundreds of campers
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational Church of Watertown, UCC
Covenant Congregational Church
Elmwood Community Church UCC
First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford, UCC
Flagg Road UCC Congregational
This Week in History:
Aug 15, 1969 (50 years ago) The Woodstock Music Festival opens in Bethel, New York. The event drew over 400,000 people to a 600 acre farm. The festival kicked off with Richie Havens and including such stars as the Who, Grateful Dean, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”