The Dividing Line


Theme: Choosing to follow Jesus. Proper 15 (20) Year C
Object: A piece of tape to put down on the floor as a dividing line.
Scripture: Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. Luke 12:51-52 (NIV)

In many places, it is back-to-school time again. Are you ready for school to start? I always liked school, do you? What is your favorite subject? Math? Reading? History? When I was in school, my favorite subject was recess. That was when we got to go outside and play! Many times we played a game that required that we divide the class into two teams. There were different ways to divide into teams. Sometimes we would line up and number off, "1-2-1-2-1-2" and the "ones" would be on one team and the "twos" on the other.

In our every day life, we are often divided into different groups. We may be divided by size, by age, by the color of our hair, or by our likes and dislikes. I have put a piece of tape down on the floor and we are going to try several different ways of dividing into two different groups. (You may adapt the following choices to fit your own situation.)

What flavor of ice cream do you like better, vanilla or chocolate? If you like vanilla ice cream better, stand on this side of the line (Point to one side.) and if you like chocolate better, stand on this side. (Point to the other side.) Very good! We are just about evenly divided on that question.

Do you like football or baseball better? If you like football better, stand on this side of the line (Point.) and if you like baseball better, stand on this side. (Point.)

What kind of music do you like? Rock-and-roll or hip-hop? If you like rock-and-roll music better, stand on this side of the line and if you like hip-hop better, stand on this side.

As you see, we don't all think the same way or like the same things, do we? One time Jesus said that he was going to be the cause of division among the people. What did he mean? He meant that even though he came to die on the cross to save the whole world, there would be some who would not believe. He wanted everyone to follow his teachings and be on his team, but he knew it wasn't going to be that way. There would be some who would follow, and others who would not.

If I were to say to you, "Everyone who loves Jesus and wants to follow him, come stand on this side of the line," I'm sure that everyone here would come and stand on this side of the line. That would make Jesus very happy, but sadly, that is not always true. There are some who love and follow Jesus, and some who do not. Jesus said that even in the same family they would be divided. That makes Jesus very sad and it makes us sad too. That is why we should tell others the good news that Jesus loves them so that they might choose to be on his side too.

Jesus, we love you and we want to follow you day by day. Help us to tell others that you love them too, and that you died for them, so that they might choose to follow you too. Amen.