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Jesus Preaching ‘Hate’?

September 3, 2010

This coming Sunday’s Gospel reading is another challenging jolt of spiritual electro-shock therapy. The last time I was assigned to offer the sermon during our worship, we had to wrestle with Jesus announcing that he came to bring “division.” And now, as I prepare my sermon for this coming Sunday, I see that Jesus seems to be preaching “hate”? Here’s the reading, from Luke 14: 25-33. What do you all think?

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Judy Terwilliger permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:29 pm

    My disclaimer: I’m probably dead wrong about this, but fools rush in . . . . And I enjoy a riddle and good conversation.

    I think Jesus is preaching about self-emptying. The builder of the tower cannot become a disciple if he can’t let go of being successful and gaining the approval and admiration of others. The king can’t be a disciple if he can’t let go of winning and being powerful and in control.

    In a larger context, this reading may be related to Christ’s three temptations in the desert. Christ emptied himself and resisted the temptations to be powerful and in control, to be successful and to be right (my own personal favorite short coming). I think we are called to do the same. For me, this is radical poverty—being poor in spirit.

    The scary part is that our God is a consuming fire. I don’t have the words to explain what that means to me, but somehow I relate the fire metaphor with this reading.

    Thank you, Jamie. This is fun–in a sacred way of course. :)


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