Discussing religion can be as divisive as politics. Consider church fights over how to celebrate Christmas or Easter or who to elect as Elder and ministers. People on both sides of such fights, in other situations demonstrate inspiring faith, yet in the midst of conflict might hurl thoughtless insults rather than prayers for peace and unity in Christ.
In other countries, conversion to Christianity might result in exclusion from family or community or even death.
If Christianity were illegal here, would you be convicted? What evidence might a prosecutor stack up to prove you really followed Christ? Giving to our food pantry, although a nice thing to do, ought not be sufficient. Even atheists help the poor. An occasional visit to a worship service ought to warrant further investigation, but considering that fewer than half of our membership show up on a typical Sunday, an occasional attendance ought not be sufficient.
Alternately, think about the people around you on a typical Sunday morning. What evidence of Christian faith have you seen in them? Have you seen them teaching others? Praying with someone? Serving our community? Inviting others to experience grace in their lives? If so, take a moment this week to thank them for demonstrating the power of Jesus Christ.
I will have more to say about Luke 12:49-56 on Sunday, August 14th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor