Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pentecost 25c - Luke 21:5-19

We tend to treasure temples adorned with things that in the end are temporary because we think, or at least hope, temples we treasure will last indefinitely. I’m at that stage of life when I realize that the less than apocalyptic societal events predicted to take place at some future date (like flying cars) will likely take place without me. So Jesus’ 2000 year old prediction of an end that has yet to take place, despite the regular recurrence of wars, insurrections, famines, plagues and portents, doesn’t bother me nearly as much as my own prediction that my temple, adorned as it is, will not last another fifty-four years. The people who heard Jesus speak the words recorded by Luke didn’t need to wait for them to come true. They were hated and betrayed and put to death because of the testimony that could not be contradicted. We learn something from their having already endured the end and therefore I think it a mistake to make Jesus’ words a blueprint for predicting Armageddon. The end is always happening somewhere on the planet when temples of flesh and blood in testifying to the truth are adorned with suffering and yes, even death. And so the word to those who heard it from Jesus himself and those who today live the end he predicted, like the martyrs of Sayidat al-Nejat Church, Baghdad, is do not be terrified, for the stone rejected by the builders has become the chief cornerstone of a temple that can never be thrown down.

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