Has there been a pendulum shift in teaching and preaching through the years? Have we abandoned fire and brimstone preaching for a more gentle approach in which we focus on mercy almost exclusively? Is there a healthy middle ground between the two approaches?
How would we label the approach of Jesus when he used descriptors such as:
*Brood of Vipers
*Better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be tossed into the sea rather than lead one of these little ones astray.
That does not seem real gentle. Could it be that we need to hear it pretty bluntly from time to time?
When I was younger there was more emphasis placed on the four last things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. When was the last time you heard these topics being preached from the pulpit?
We are all going to die at some point. We will be judged, and we will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. We ignore these topics at our own peril. Today, I invite you to meditate upon the fact that you will die at some point. The First Letter of John in the New Testament would be a good reference point for today's reflection. Specifically, I would recommend 1 John 3:14 as a starting point.