Site hosted by Build your free website today!
MK 13: 1-11 (13)
23rd Sunday after Pentecost

I can't see any particular point in ending the reading at v.11. The 'world' (our world?) of earlier vv. narrows down to the world & fate of the disciples, & in 12-13 still further, & quite sharply, to home & family & the division Christ will cause. Is that too close to the bone? Are we reaching the stage where lectionographers will 'rate' Scripture like films & videos? Print warnings like 'Some readers may be disturbed by the following verses....'  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he talked about 'hard sayings'!

Where I live, 'be alert' has become more a catch-cry in the 'war against terror' or a tool in the weaponry of road-safety campaigners, than an issue of spiritual 'safety'. What kinds of spheres do we need to be alert in where we live? One field in which we certainly need to remain spiritually alert (& informed!) is in the face of the multitudinous cranks out there peddling extremist, fundamentalist versions of what Jesus is on about. Not just in 'extremist' churches, but within mainline ones these days. (I've just come across a nasty instance in a congregation I relate to!) It can happen! Not just 'out there' somewhere, but right in here.

How can we live in our time & God's time at the same time, in the world & in the church as Christ's Body, & do it free from fear? ('Perfect love casts out fear' says dear John.) Persecution of Christians these days in some of our societies is just as likely to come from fundamentalist (protestant or catholic) factions within churches more than from outside. Besides which, those out there in the wide margins probably think we're not worth persecuting any more. All the fun's gone out of the game! But it still lingers within in some quarters. Where misguided people try to draw in-church-margins tightly round fellow Christians. Isn't it ironic that that's the way Jesus' warnings may be fulfilled today?!

That Jesus (in the Greek) speaks of wars & earthquakes & famines as 'the beginning of birth-pangs' could be a helpful way of exploring pains that our world still - as always - labours under. Has to bear to bring something worthwhile to birth. (Paul knows what he's on about in RO 8 : 22-24)

As distinct from theological philosophising, what practical & constructive steps must we take, as a congregation & as individual members to 'endure to the end'? The end of what? End for whom?