Sermons from St
Journeying with God
today's gospel passage from Luke, Jesus tells his
disciples that he has not come to bring peace to the
earth. He has instead come to bring
division. This is a surprising message and a
difficult one. It is both difficult to
understand and to accept. It is usual for us to
think in terms of Jesus being a bringer of peace and
The earth however, is not a place of harmony, justice
or peace. Jesus brings messages which are
not welcomed by the people in power. He tells
the people that they need to be true to God and to
beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
Underlying this message is that God knows all.
It is no good to give the appearance of doing good, of
following the holy laws, if the reality is that it is
only an outward show of virtue. For God knows
all and no secrets will be hidden from him.
Today's passage comes after the parable of the
watchful slaves, who are waiting for their master's
return from the wedding banquet. The individual
slaves act in very different ways from each
other’s. Some act in faith and duty, doing as
they should whilst they are not being watched.
Others are faithless and are not alert, or at their
work. The good slaves act as faithful stewards,
whilst the corrupt and lazy will be punished by their
In this context, we can understand why Jesus brings
division. There is division already; the world
is an unequal and unfair place, where injustice and
suffering happens. God's people are required to
act on the command of God, to be good stewards.
There cannot be an acceptance of wrongdoing, of not
following the will of God. So inevitably there
will be strife and division. God relies on his
people to act faithfully, as those who can be
trusted. The relationship of God and his people
is at the heart of this.
The people need God. If they do not continually
seek God, and to strive to fulfil God's will, then the
world and its people will be lost. The
disobedience of the first man and woman (Adam and Eve)
in the Garden of Eden is the warning of what that loss
is. The good news from Jesus is that there is
hope and that God wants his people to return to him –
and that they can do this through faith and good
Like Adam and Eve, who were flattered and deceived by
the serpent into disobeying God, people can so easily
be taken in by lies and deception – things that are
not what they seem. To see and understand the
truth requires courage, prayer and self-honesty.
In today's Old Testament reading from Jeremiah, the
prophet speaks the word of God to the Jewish
people. He warns them of false prophets – who do
not speak the word of God, though they claim to do
so. Jeremiah warns the people of the dangers of
listening to the smooth-talking false prophets, saying
what people want to hear. Instead, Jeremiah tells the
people that they must be true to God, and that because
they have not been, they will suffer the
consequences. In the time of Jeremiah, the loss
the Jewish people suffer is being subjugated and
exiled to Babylon.
For us today, as Christians, as followers of Christ,
the concern is not the same as the people of
Judah. But our faith in Christ is at the heart
of our beliefs, our life of faith.
We know the consequences of turning away from God, the
terror, the destitution of spirituality. This may be
too much greed, or the overwhelming lust for power of
leaders. The love of God saves his people and
gives them hope, transforming the world.
In a shifting world, where there is sorrow, suffering
and evil, people may lose faith and hope. It is
the calling of God to his people to turn to him for
help which offers true salvation. It is also the
will of God that his people will in turn offer hope to
others by their acts and words of faith.
In prayer, reading scripture and worship, we as
Christians work on our faith. It is a defence
against the darkness and uncertainty of the world.
It is the good stewards who act as God's faithful
Kindness is important, to have mercy. It is
important for the person who does the act of kindness,
as much as for the person who receives the gift.
Like the tapestry of the mind and the soul, which is
as much a part of reality as the physical world.
Sow kind acts and memory's garden will smell
sweet. God asks his people to do good, so that
they can become spiritually closer to him. The
people are to act on the word of God, and to be his
stewards, his faithful.
The divisions of the world, which Jesus talks about,
reflect the fundamental differences between God and
the world. Jesus has come to transform the
world, not just to go along with the way things
are. Where there is suffering, or evil Christ
and his followers offer hope and salvation. This
spiritual journeying with God continues.