I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Brenna Rubio started out her sermon last Sunday with an unusual line: “The most important relationships in my life have been the most apocalyptic.” Then she talked about how it’s inevitably the people closest to her who with whom she experiences the most conflict, the most emotional intensity. Isn’t that true for you as well?
Jesus shows up bringing fire with him - but not the fire of eternal judgment. Instead, as the passage goes on to play out, it’s the fire that erupts in close relationships when we’re no longer able to sweep things under the rug. It’s the fire that rages in our hearts when we have to face our relational failures by actually confronting the one we failed or the one who failed us. It’s the fire that burns up the simplistic unity that we have at church services with our plastic smiles and our dishonest answers. It’s the fire of earnest theological debate over real life issues that are hard to discuss like immigration reform or LGBTQ inclusion.
Jesus longs to kindle this fire in us - not because he’s mean, but because he values reality so much and is so pained by how we hide from each other, from God, and even from ourselves.
If you are honest with yourself right now, what relationship might Jesus want to set on fire so that you could actually deal with the real issues going on in it that are currently in hiding? Invite Jesus into that space now.