getting out the WORD - the 8th sunday after pentecost PDF Print E-mail

the PRAYER...
Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth...

Matthew 13:31-33 , Matthew 13:44-52

the DEVOTION...
From all the billboards and bumper stickers, you'd think it's a done deal! "Eternity is Hell without Jesus," they say! "Heaven or Hell - it's your choice!" And so, like a moth, every time I read this passage, I'm drawn to the fire and to the weeping and the gnashing! But it's kind of funny. It's all, pretty much, unique to Matthew and Matthew alone...

Right from the start, Matthew's "gospel" is full of separations! Fruitful trees from unfruitful! Grain from chaff! Always two groups; an eternal either/or. Wheat and weeds! Good fish, bad fish! Sheep, goats! Matthew draws a line in the sand. And when he does, he draws it straight and he draws it deep.

So sometimes, every now and then, it's good, after reading a passage, just to sit back, relax, and remember... The truth-whole-truth-and-nothing-but isn't about the outer darkness! Or unquenchable fire. It's about Jesus! Sun-rising-on-evil-and-good Jesus! Rain-falling-on-righteous-and-not Jesus! Gift! Unearned! Undeserved! When you get right down to it, the bible doesn't say a whole lot about heaven OR hell! But it speaks volumes about god's love... in, with, and under Jesus! So help us god!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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