In Luke 12:49-53 We are told that Jesus said he came to set the world on fire, and these words may remind us of Acts 2:3. In that verse we are told that the Holy Spirit came to the disciples as tongues of fire. Fire is hot; it is powerful; it often can’t be controlled. The fire we may feel inside is passion. Using this analogy, Jesus’s message, and the decent of the Holy Spirit, is about passion.
In the reading from Luke, Jesus also tells us that we will be divided. Saying this another way, our passions may divide us. We may not agree about so many different things, even in our churches. But, we must ask if this is really a bad thing. We argue about using the hymnal vs. contemporary Christian music, the time of the service, contemplative worship vs. robust worship – we disagree about all these things and so much more. Yet, the underlying reason for our disagreement could be summed up as an argument based on the way it has always been done, vs. the possibility of new ways to do things. These can be fiery debates. Again, we must ask if this is a really bad thing.
Change is difficult. In Jesus’ time family members definitely turned against each other when some decided to follow “The Way” and others did not. We don’t have to imitate them when some want to follow one way or another of being Christian, of doing worship.
Instead, we can open ourselves to the Spirit and follow our passions, allowing others to do the same. We can remember Jesus invites us all to his table! We can remember the words found in John 14:27a, “….My peace I give to you….”