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LK 21: 5-19
24th S. after Pentecost

Picture the scene. Jesus is sitting by the Temple treasury. (Today, maybe, sitting in the vestry while the treasurer counts the weekly offerings?) He watches the poor widow of vv.1-4. The incident flows straight into what he says about Temple & Nation But instead of questioning him about what he's just said about the widow, a focus for how the politics of God work, those around him, probably a wider group than just his own personal disciples, can't get past the physical presence & appearance of the Temple. An issue that still dogs us today with our perceived emphasis on buildings rather than people. Are there 'building blocks' we need to knock down so we can start again & care for little people like the poor widow? Is it time to rebuild, become the kind of temples God really wants? Change church politics for God politics.

When Jesus goes on to prophesy about times to come, he's not fore-telling the future except in the sense that if the nation goes on the way it is going, there will be inevitable consequences. We should all be 'prophesying' today according to the same politics of God Jesus is so conscious of. There are plenty of plain silly 'prophecies' in some church circles (or should that be 'in the circles of some churches'?) today. The test of any prophecy is whether it is in accordance with God-politics. With 'Thus saith the Lord'. Is it in accord with the totality of God's Word, not just bits of Scripture someone likes? Does it stand up to the kind of scrutiny Jesus himself applies to things?

Nations have always been rising up against each other; there have always been earthquakes, famines, & plagues, signs & portents in the heavens. They are different today only in scale, imagination, & invention. Our world is a less safe place now than it was five years ago because nations & religious groupings, maybe, maybe not including our own, still want to play power politics as they did in Jesus' day'; demonstrate they're in the big league. As I write, three actual volcanoes are erupting or about to; but different kinds of volcanoes are boiling up all over. Much of the world is in naturally caused, or often, human-caused famine. Plagues of new kinds are attacking on every front where they can find a chink. Portents in the heavens turn out to be Israeli helicopter gunships blasting Palestinians, or US ones killing Iraquis, not all of them 'insurgents' by any means. Signs on the ground are just as threatening: suicide bombers, land mines, polluted streams, dammed (& damned!) rivers.Take your pick.

Yet, then & now, Jesus is confident of our security in the midst of such terrors. I don't have many hairs left on my head to be harmed, but that doesn't matter. It's our endurance that counts. Not what we put up with but our insistence that, in the end, God! Our persistence in that faith & confidence. Discerning & living out God's values come what may. Hair or not.