I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! Luke 12:49-51
Jesus said he wanted to set fire to the world. Burn this stinkin' place down. Or maybe burn it up. Never could figure out which way that should go. It's like going downtown. Once you get there, are you really uptown?
What? Was Jesus some kind of pyromaniac? Wanting to put a torch to creation, set the earth on fire?
I thought God had made everything and pronounced it "Tov!" (very good).
Even the stuff we humans have stuck onto the surface is at times unable to get in the way of the beauty and wonder of God's creation.
Maybe Jesus didn't really want to physically set the earth ablaze. Maybe he wanted to do what my Uncle Obert used to say some of the neighbores needed with their farm work. They needed some fire in the pants.
That is, they needed to get something done.
Jesus said that kind of thing wouldn't sit well with everybody. In fact, it might split families down the middle. Might turn fathers and sons against each other. Might set the women to a-hair pullin' cat fight. Even the in-laws would bust up over it.
Considering what we bright, intelligent humans with all our satellite and space station diagnostic tools, all our climate data, all our computing power already know about what lies ahead for us in the way of consumption spikes, extinction spikes, greenhouse gas spikes and population spikes, you'd think we'd actually be burning the candle at both ends to get something moving to help head off the damage.
We aren't doing that. At all. Seems like we're still looking for the Jesus that's like a big novacaine shot. Or maybe a big general anesthetic.
We're afraid we won't all get along anymore if we actually get to work doing what we are supposed to do: love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves. That would sorta include future generations as well as the people who right today are impacted by the consumption we consider to be our right. Our right and privilege as Americans. Because we are the good guys.
Oh, don't worry. I'm not leaving out our all-out opposition to sin, death and the Devil. That's 'cause I haven't forgotten that Jesus has already handed us the victory there.
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! That's what life is to be lived in the knowledge and the power of.
So why do we trust in war and weapons to deliver the goods?
Why do we trust in fear? Still...
Jesus would say, "For God's sake, open your eyes! Get to work! Get moving! Stop standing there dying and get busy living!"
Forget the fear.
Oh, and last time I checked, mothers and daughters-in-law and fathers/sons don't always get along so hot as it is.
Only thing that needs a match put to it is our reluctance, our fear, our foot-dragging, our blindness.
Take a look around. God didn't give us this to destroy but to give glory through life, not through ashes.