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NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2019 THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – Covenant Community Church, Birmingham Alabama


In reading the assigned Gospel text for Sunday, I thought of my Mom. Knowing her character, temperament, and ways as I did; I could almost always predict how she was going to react to a situation. Often, I could anticipate the very words she would use in her reaction. And while her words could have an edge to them, she’d always try to leave you feeling better if not wiser. But every now and then, her response would be so out of character that it would leave me thinking “I did not expect this from Mamma!”

Reading the assigned Gospel text this week, I found myself thinking the same thing of Jesus. Jesus is often referred to as “The Prince of Peace” because we believe He was the ultimate example of the way to bring peace and reconciliation into situations in our lives and into the world. After all, did Jesus not come to bring peace? Was Jesus not the “savior” of Zechariah’s prophecy, the messianic figure who would “guide our feet into the way of peace?” (Luke 1:79)

Yet in this passage Jesus says, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, I have come instead to bring division.” This passage suggest that the opposite of peace is not “war” but “division,” a division of a specific kind; and, that Jesus’ coming has created much conflict within families, synagogues, and the larger public arena.

His words seem to be from what author Juan Carlos Ortiz calls “The Fifth Gospel.” My study and reflection on these words offer a reason, an explanation for the “Prince of Peace” saying them. And while the explanation left me as Mamma, a little wiser: “I didn’t NOT expect this from Jesus!”

Join us at Covenant for worship this Sunday. I’ll share the reasonable explanation of these words from Jesus. I’ll also explain what is “The Fifth Gospel.” My sermon title is “I Did ‘NOT’ expect this from Jesus!” based on “Luke 12:49-56.”

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