Thirty-Third Ordinary

The Introduction 

The end of another church year is near. We can tell because the readings are winding down to the end of the world. It’s a cheerful note to end on, if you’re a true believer. What could be better than the fulfilment of all of God’s promises?

On the other hand, the end-times means the destruction of creation as we know it and a certain amount of real persecution and suffering. There’s betrayal and hatred and the chance to plead your case in a court of lies – none of which we look forward to. On the third hand (if we’re permitted a third hand), all of those conditions exist right now. We can pretend they’re not there and turn a blind eye. But end-time suffering is happening in real time.

Goodness and justice are always on trial. Creation is ever endangered and suffering is no stranger. The old world is on the verge of slipping away. The new creation aches to be born. The end of the world is more familiar than we imagine, and the reign of God closer than we dream.

What part of you pledges allegiance to the old world? What part aches to be reborn?

Give your testimony in favour of the new creation of God’s love. Put your time, money, presence, and signature behind a campaign of justice. Let the new creation be born.

The Scripture (Luke 21: 16 – 19) Troubles and Persecutions

Jesus went on, “You’ll even be turned in by parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. Even so, every detail of your body – even the hairs of your head! – is in my care; nothing of you will be lost. Staying with it – that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved”.

The Connection

Chicken Little cried, ‘The sky is falling,’ and we know what happened to him. Jesus warns the people that everything they have counted on will be a pile of rubble. Jesus is trying to sharpen our perspective in this doomsday warning. The disciples are sure he is talking about the end of the world. But perhaps he is really telling us is to live without dependence on the temple or any earthly institution. We are to depend on God alone. This plays out in the unconscious ways we rely on our government, our Church, the media and other ‘experts’ to provide the truths by which we live. All these sources will someday disappear, and we will be left with God alone. Something as insignificant as an American penny reminds us, ‘In God we Trust’. Our earthly riches will leave us someday, but God never will. In these last days of the Church year, we need to step back and evaluate where we are putting our trust. Jesus is speaking a hard message. No one wants to hear that the global financial structure, and everything we have known will fade away. But even then, one thing will remain: God – a three in one presence – a triune insurance plan for a life that will never end.

The Commissioning

We are ready! We will listen carefully, we will prepare thoroughly, we will encourage sensitivity, we will vision faithfully, we will work creatively, we will care compassionately, we will speak out boldly, we will follow Christ joyfully. And God will go with us! Amen.

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