The House Divided Against Itself, by Katie Snipes Lancaster
Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “…a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. Luke 11:17b
ReflectionThis parable is the second half of verse 17, and goes with yesterday’s parable, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland…” The two back to back parables say almost the same thing. We see this elsewhere—particularly with the lost sheep, coin and son—that is one of Jesus’ storytelling strategies is duplication. Say it, say it again, and try one more time. He is admittedly, always trying to get his point across, and the gospel is littered with dopey disciples and religious leaders who still just don’t get it.
Parables have legs. With an education anchored in scripture, Abraham Lincoln pulled out Jesus’ parable to make his case in his famous “House Divided” speech to pre-civil war Americans saying “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave, and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
Our many houses are divided in all the ways possible. How would you word Abraham Lincoln’s speech today? What divisions cannot stand? Where would you place Jesus’ parable if you were addressing a local, national, or global audience?
Mend us, O God,
a multitude of divisions.