Sermon Summary: November 17, 2019
At first glance, the Gospel reading from Luke (Luke 21:5-19) may evoke fear and apprehension. It speaks of wars, famines, plagues and other “dreadful portents”. In it, Jesus tells his disciples that even the massive temple of Jerusalem will one day be destroyed. He talks of persecution, betrayal, and death. However, the real meaning of Luke’s writing emerges after a more thoughtful examination of Jesus’ words coupled with all his other teachings.
Jesus is telling his followers that bad things will happen. That is the nature of the world, a world that cannot see beyond current dilemmas to a more glorious time. Such a narrow view is easy to hold, particularly for those who have suffered great loss, been given a horrible diagnosis, have no place to lay their head, or have no idea where to find their next meal.
The real point of this Gospel is to remind us that we are not of this world even though we live in it, that we are to persevere in faith through whatever may occur here because the end is assured and it is a wonderful one. In the words of Isaiah, a world where “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox”. We must persevere in faith, refuse to live in an “end time” mindset, show our deeds of faith to the sick, the hungry, the profoundly wounded. We must do so because our Savior tells us “when you hear of wars and insurrection, do not be terrified. He assures us that “by your endurance, you will gain your souls”. To paraphrase a recent hit song – we’ve been to the movies and we know how it ends. That end is promised to us. May we use our knowledge of and faith in that ultimate “good news” to minister to a world perpetually stuck in the temporal and bring them closer to the “new heaven” Isaiah foretells.
Thanks be to God,