Blog / Book of the Month / “Irene” Sermon / Luke 12:49-53 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 18th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

“Irene” Sermon / Luke 12:49-53 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 18th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

“Irene” Sermon / Luke 12:49-53 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday August 18th 2019 / Season Of Pentecost / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Text: Luke 12:49-53
Theme: “Irene”
Intr – You need to know Irene. Irene is a pleasant, always welcome company for many people, both men and women. Because she is nice, calm, quiet. At the same time she can be very definite, precise and challenging. She hints hours and days of a very pleasant shared time where the heart and the soul can rest. You can talk with her without any assumptions or prejudices. Irene is that company that gives the certainty that we can live days, however turbulent they might be, always with a certainty of someone to understand, care, to love and to give us intentional attention. She can even save us from our most complicated situations.

Maybe at this point you are becoming curious about who Irene is. Is she already part of my life, or is her friendship only for a few privileged friends? Does she have an email, a Facebook profile that I can follow or become friend with?

A good clue when trying to figure out if we may belong to her friendship circle is to define her possible profile. People who seek for her company may come up with different descriptions of her such as these:

Profile 1
People describing Irene here talk about meeting her in a nice, quiet place, away from the noise of civilization. In this description, therefore, Irene does not fit into the workplace, on a traffic jam, discussions and fights; she doesn’t fit into our distresses and fears.{1} In this case if you want to find and meet Irene and enjoy her pleasant company you need a quiet, peaceful, undisturbed place. Another feature here is that she doesn’t want to get into fights, whatever they are, especially about religion. So she will cave and yield in her principles to anyone else just to not disturb the peace.
Profile 2
Under this description we can find Irene when we do good things, when we act so that what is good comes back to you. You can only find Irene if we demonstrate goodwill and with good attitudes that we really deserve her company; you’ve got to have skin in the game. Otherwise, we won’t be worthy of being added to her circle of friendship.
Profile 3
It would seem strange to you but this description of Irene not always seems to have connection with someone gentle, kind and an always pleasant company. According to this profile, Irene is present everywhere. She would be your friend in joy and in pain. She is a reality with company or in solitude. She is there at work, at home, in a traffic jam or out in Nature. She is in the countryside or in the city. She is a friend both in illness and health; accident and recovery. Anguish and fear, calm and refuge. Life and death. Irene is a certain company at all times to bring what our heart and our life need the most. She doesn’t yield in her principles just to keep a supposed peace. So she may every so often set some fire to relationships.

At this point it is necessary to reveal who we are talking about. We want to assess what is the right Irene profile that really brings that wonderful constant present to our lives.
Irene, in Greek = Peace
I am sure I would be a 100 per cent sure in affirming that Peace is one of our greatest yearnings for our lives. But how can we have Irene, peace, as our constant company?

I was reading the other day about people who won big lottery prizes and that, after sometime, if they were not less happy than before, they didn’t become happier either. Many of them by the way had already spent all the money they won. Two thousand years ago, says a legend, a roman Emperor was in a similar situation. He was at the top of the world. His family and personal life were a mess though. Problems were mounting up and he started to lose sleep. According to the tale he once heard about a simple, humble man who was able to sleep in peace every single day. What did the emperor did? He bought that man’s bed.

We still have that in our current world. Pharmacy shelves full of peace promising pills, bookstore shelves full of peace promising self-help books; tons of options promising you happiness, contentment and a good night of sleep. We are invited to be like that emperor – to go and buy the bed -, even though we all know that peace comes from within. When our heart finds no permanent peace, our soul finds no permanent rest.[2]

Where can that permanent peace and rest be found?

Well, first of all, not with Profile 1. Not with profile 2 also. The best description of Irene is Number 3 - because this Irene we are talking about is a company given by Christ. He brings us the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. It fills our heart and gives meaning to our life.

“Well, pastor, but now I will catch you off guard. What about today's Gospel, which says that Jesus did not come to bring peace, but fire?”

Well, first of all, the text is correct, for it is in the Bible. Now, Jesus didn’t come to bring profile 1 Peace and Profile 2 Irene. He is not a Master of peace promising that when you follow his teaching with all your heart (as if that would be possible) you’ll have a life increasingly quiet, calm, pacific, and decreasingly problematic and ill. Jesus came to set our assumptions about peace on fire. He sets fire to the works-righteousness peace, the “illumination” peace or something we can attain by retracting from the world or by pursuing a stress free or trouble-free life. We are tempted to loosen up our principles in order to “keep the peace”. “I would rather being happy than being right”.[3]

That’s why Jesus causes division even inside families, for even inside the walls of our home there may be division, misconception and plain wrong definitions of what a life in peace means. Instead of the Bible, peace may mean Nature, Good health, a nice vacation, family time, good job, material stability – without the cornerstone of Jesus Christ as the center of the family. When even our family goes down the road of indifference toward the source of the true Irene, Peace, we need the bad news that is good news. I take this from the journalism environment. I don’t know if you heard that before, but there’s a saying among media workers in general that goes: “Bad news is good news”. I heard that as an unwritten rule among journalists in my journalism class years ago. This means that whenever something really bad happens all the media know that they are going to get attention above normal, for, as we know, people in general sort of ‘enjoy’ tragedies when they happens (event if we don’t admit it, and as long as it is with others). Crowds stop to watch whenever there’s a really bad thing happening, like September 11 for example, or breaking news of a tsunami or a quake. When bad news breaks in information workers know that good hours of exposition for their outlet and for themselves break in too.[4]

When people, society or even our own family is on that road previously mentioned then bad news is good news. Jesus comes with fire, His message cannot leave us indifferent. It either sets our hearts on fire or sets fire to our indifference warning us about the inextinguishable fire of hell.[5]

But Jesus has an intention when he sets fire even among family members. He doesn’t want everybody to play the “holier than thou” game, so that se find where we are right and where everybody is wrong, trying to set moral and behavioral standards that we can’t follow in order to please God. He wants all, father, mother, kids, relatives, church, people – to come to repentance. Ultimately, fire need to be set in to every human heart to bring us to repentance and faith in Him.

Then, yes, Jesus’ Word comes to us: “I leave you peace, my peace I give to you”. But, again, profile 3, not 1 and 2 as Jesus says: “I do not give it as the world does”. His peace is the certainty of a life in God's hands, no matter what happens, no matter what will come.

Jesus invites us to have our stand; in love, in patience and comprehension, but always a firm stand. We have no doubt where the true peace, comfort and life are. We can pass it down to our children, and our children’s children, to family, to everyone. At some moments, we may feel that may cause divisions, because in our human feelings we usually don’t like to accept dependence. But when Christ becomes the giver of Irene, Peace, then closeness, unity, and peace come closer under Christ, even and especially during the hardest times.

Bad news is good news sometimes. Jesus came to bring fire to the earth. But that’s not the whole story. It has been developing from the cross - actually since God decided to love and save us. Christ realized The Top Story to be covered. This is a story where the bad news is good news too! But in a good way. A wonderful one. A man hanging on a cross - death sentence – that’s bad news. But this horrible scene became the greatest Good News of all time. We have forgiveness, peace. By faith, we’re saved. We have a story: a story with a good end.

Then no matter how bad the world turns out to be, there's no news as breaking, as comforting, as good as this. If sometimes we believe in the media's news which is human and biased why not firmly believe in God's News that is always Irene for us? Jesus wants us safe in his arms, guided along his path, kept in His love.[6] With Him good news is always good news.[7]

Cc - One more detail. In verse 49 Jesus talks about fire. Right in the next verse, with a close connection, He mentions the Baptism He was about to take. Baptizein is a Greek word that means something being done with water. Right after talking about fire, Jesus brings water. Do you feel you life on fire, your chest burning, your hopes, and dreams like burning to the ground? Remember the water. Jesus Baptism on His Cross was applied to you in your Baptism. Irene. Christ’s Peace. Christ in us, the unconditional trust that in everything that happens He is our Peace; to know that we are saved by grace and that we can live this grace, the certainty that that every step is taken in God's hands.
When fire torments your house or your life, the water of Irene is the one to be brought to the heart, to quench your thirst for a new beginning. A new beginning only the Real Irene can provide.



[1] Those would have another name: Polemos,(rev. 12:17) which is where we get our word Polemics from. OR strateoumai (Rm 1Cor 10:3)


[3] This idea works for daily riffs and frets. But it doesn’t work at all for the principles from the Word of God that are the base for our life.

[4] There are reporters, for example, that became nationwide or worldwide know because of they were covering a war or a great tragedy, while for those covering a world sports event or the last goodwill action in the neighborhood it takes way more years of exposition.

[5] Examples of situations when fire may be set even inside a house:
_Laws and ordinances that try to push us outside our Christian values x this is how the world is today, “we’re in Century XXI, wake up!”
_The importance to attending Church x Churches are becoming old and unnecessary;
_Take decisions based upon the unchanging Word of God x making decisions based on what is the current ethics of society;


[7] So my good Christians friends, we need to adjust expectations about peace. Is it: A) Living in a state of pleasant physical sensation, a relaxed mind, far from the daily life hustle and bustle and always rush-free? That’s a mistake. It is not possible. And frankly, to me it seems closer to boredom than to peace. Or B) Peace is Irene. Christ’s Peace. is it unconditional confidence that in everything that happens He is our Peace? To know that we are saved by grace and that we can live this grace, the certainty that that every step is taken in God's hands? If the second description is present in our hearts, then Irene is no doubt part of our circle of friendships. She is present in our daily life. She brings all the good gifts that Christ’ company presents us every day. We walk in hand in hand with Irene, the peace of Christ towards the endless peace in heaven.