Pentecost +12 - Year C
Division and separation are creation-long experiences. Formless void and darkness are separated from light, a garrulous and day-long absent G*D is separated from said image of same and they from their garden chatting place, languages are separated one from another, unclean shellfish are separated from clean sheep, Samaritans are separated from Jews and Gentiles, and the list of separations can continue and continue to today's religious-right identity politics of separationing gay from straight.
Yes, Jesus continues, and even provokes, division and separation. His attempts at clarifying meaning seem to automatically provoke. With Jesus as forerunner of our faith, it is little surprise that we continue to provoke one another to the point of division after division and separation after separation - how many Christian sects are there - as many as the stars in the sky or sand in the ocean (a promise to Abram and Sarai fulfilled?).
Instead of presuming there is no way around some of our disputes (even though the best that might be done is to manage them, not to dispel them) there is here room for us to ask some clarifying questions. What are our divisions? Are you sure? Is there somewhere greater to which our current separating smallnesses might be led? If we are just disputing to dispute because what we are disputing about doesn't really amount to a hill of beans in a larger reality around us, the refining fire of this recognition will exacerbate our stress immensely.
Can we look at ourselves with the same clarity we apply to clouds? Who among us is a nimbostratus? a cumulus? a nacreous? What clarity will resolve long-standing divisions and which will finally bring a needed separation? These are questions for whole religious traditions, as well as a congregation/parish, and an individual.
I expect that dealing with an issue of clarity will also have its dark side as it expands a yearning to have simple resolutions to complex issues. Clarity can also energize precipitous action in the expectation of dealing with ongoing polarities, once and for all.
Said anew, "You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to clarify your present time and your present life?"
This issue of clarity is the issue, not the fire next time or instituting our own current personal or cultural bias.