Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, speaks of his mission in Matthew 10:34-42. That mission is not necessarily going to be easy. He says he has come to bring controversy, not peace. He calls his people to follow him to the exclusion of anyone else. He calls his people to make a distinction. Those who would reject forgiveness in Christ will find themselves as the enemies of those who trust Jesus. This can push us into hostilities. The follower of Jesus is not to respond in anger, but in trust for Jesus. However, the one who is not following Jesus is likely to respond even to family members with hostility. Brother will turn against brother, father against son, mother against daughter.
Historically, Christians have been driven out of society. While there have been some times when Christianity has been a majority religion in some areas, and while there is a vaguely Christian morality which took root through much of Western civilization, those times and places have been relatively few and far between in the scope of world history.
This exclusion from society has not always been clearly theological. It has not always been an overt action. Yet, in the past ten years or so in my country it has become increasingly clear that a Christian is often unwelcome. One classic situation used governmental coercive force to require all employers, including those who wish to live according to a Christian conviction of protecting human life rather than ending it, to supply medical insurance plans which would include procedures intended to end life. In response to objections, the governmental leaders gave these people a year to “change their values.” In a more recent situation, elected officials, when interviewing someone for a financial post in the government, accused a Christian who had defended a position of exclusivity of redemption through Christ of being hostile and biased against people of other religious convictions, and not the kind of person this country is about. People engaged in medical practice but dedicated to saving life rather than ending it are threatened that if they do not engage in the intentional end of a human life they will not have a future in medicine. Scholars who take a position that there are universal divinely identified truths are pushed to the side of any discussion, if not ejected altogether.
Jesus said it would happen. We have only to open our eyes to see it happening. What are we to do about it? We are to recognize that in rejecting a Christian point of view, people are actually rejecting the Christ. He has been there already. He has overcome it through his death and resurrection. He can take his people down the same path, if needed. They have only to trust him and continue in care for their neighbor, as long as that is allowed.
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