Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lectionary 24b - Mark 13:1-8

Mark 13:1-8

I imagine years later upon reading the Gospel of Mark the unnamed disciple was relieved he remained anonymous. After all moments before Jesus had elevated an invisible widow and two small copper coins above offerings of excess from those who, like large stone buildings, made themselves hard to ignore. Of course we too are enamored by an impressive edifice of flesh or stone, more often than not our own. But the temple was more than just an extraordinary piece of architecture. In the mind of the people it was the only place where heaven and earth met, where the Holy consecrated the profane, where the presence of God hidden behind a curtain kept watch over Israel. The temple had become more important to the faith than the One it was built to house and so Jesus directed the disciple to look more closely. Do you see…? God does not dwell in a house made by human hands but in the heart of a widow. It is a word for us who might be impressed by stone structures of denominations or distressed at their possible demise. Do you see…? It applies to the beginnings of the birth pangs as well, which might indeed be cause for alarm but for the promise at the end of this chapter “heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not.” Do you see…? It is a question for all who are alarmed by personal conflicts within and without, by divisions, by everyday disruptions that make one hunger for something stable and trustworthy. Do you see…? It is in this different way of seeing that God is found for when it appeared all was lost for Jesus all in fact was won. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” the prelude to “It is finished” as the pangs of the old, as alarming as they may be, anticipate the birth of something new. Do you see?


  1. Thanks for this Phil. I found it helpful, and sharply expressed. I'm Mike Mair, Dundee, Scotland, semi-retired minister of the Church of Scotland. I also do a blog on the catholic daily readings, which you can access on

    my email:

  2. Thanks Mike. I just started this two weeks ago as a way of helping my congregation anticipate the coming Sunday and give them a daily devotional. So far so good but I can see how the demands of a daily blog is akin to being a dairy farmer!