25th Weekend after Pentecost: 11-14-2021

25th Weekend after Pentecost: 11-14-2021

November 14, 2021 | Bryan Simmons

Passage: Mark 13:1-8

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    All right, got to find the reading again here. All right. Well, Jesus brought it up, so I suppose we have to talk about it: 'The End of the World.' The end of the world is one of those things that, I don't know, we know that it's coming and we know the promises that have been told to us, but we don't really typically get all that excited about dwelling on that part. Although some people do. Some people really get excited about WHEN the end of the world is going to happen. People have made entire careers out of it. There has been entire subsets of this religion out of it. They pick a day and they say this is definitely what it is because I've carefully studied all the numbers in Scripture. You know, there's like 60000 words in there, and I counted 60000 days from so-and-so, and this is definitely it. And it doesn't happen, and then they can explain to you why it didn't happen and predict the next one. And we're promised in this end of the world that all pain goes away. All tears go away. There is nothing left, but endless bliss and happiness and joy in the eternal love of God. And so it does end up being something to look forward to and get excited about. And so when some of those predictions come and go, there can be a grieving process, I admit I was a little disappointed in 2012 when I found out the Mayans were wrong.

    Because there is this promise to us about the end. Jesus is walking out of the temple with his disciples and their admiring the big buildings and the big structures -- things that are accomplished by skilled hands, careful craftsmanship. And make for a very impressive view of what can be accomplished in this world. You have to remember the disciples are coming from from rural towns where they have these these one room homes that they build together out of stone and probably have a roof on top, a flat roof that they can sleep on. But there was nothing really to marvel at with those things. And so when they come and they see this Second Temple, which is said to pale in comparison to the original temple built built by Solomon, they say that, you know, even though it pales in comparison, it remained really impressive. And these disciples no doubt are taking all this in. But Jesus doesn't waste much time and kind of pops the bubble immediately, right? These guys are admiring at the work of the skilled craftsmen and this amazing structure that's been put up. Jesus just says, "yeah, all these great buildings, it's all going to collapse, it's all going to fall apart. Not one stone will be left upon the other. All will be thrown down."

    Gospel of Mark was written around a time when this happened to the temple itself physically, as the Romans came and finally put down the insurrection that the Jews had against Rome, and they did it by destroying this temple. But Mark is referring to something beyond the Temple, Jesus is referring to something beyond the temple. And it is this great famed last day that will be upon us. Jesus doesn't really do us any favors as to telling us exactly when that day is, and the people that carefully scour scripture to tell us when that last day is, don't do us any favors by telling us the wrong day either. In fact, scripture is quite clear that we don't know when that day will be. And the way Jesus talks about it here, there will be some that come in my name and say, "I am He," and lead many astray. You'll hear of wars and rumors of wars. There will be famines and earthquakes. Gee, when is that happened in the last 2000 years? It's so general. That there really is no planning for that day. And so the message to you and me is: Be prepared for that day. For we do not know when it is coming.

    Most of you have probably heard this, but we lost our our oldest dog in the family. She was 14 years old, happened on Tuesday and you know, thankfully my wife Tricia and I were were at home at the time it happened. So we got to, you know, comfort her and say goodbye as it happened. But it got me thinking about these, these moments that we have where we lose something dear to us, or we lose a pet or a friend or a dear family member. And even for the ones that we know it's coming, I mean, Grace was 14, a 60-pound dog. We knew it was coming at some point, you know, and you know, you have a someone that's dealing with cancer. You know, it's coming at some point. But when that day hits, and that moment comes and there is that moment of separation and loss. And there is no more being able to talk to that person or animal. I don't know about you, but I tend to get hit by a flurry of what I could have done, what I should have done. What I would have done if. I'm assuming you're the same way. Because in that moment, our brains are always hit with the finality of time.

    I think knowing the end of the world is near is similar to these moments. Instead of thinking about what we could have done and should have done and would have done, the call for you and me is to take advantage of each and every day. And to live it as though it were the last day. To make sure that our loved ones know we love them. To make sure that we are living our life to the fullest. Not because of some fear as to when this day is going to happen and you're running out of time. But in the expectation that this day will happen. And we need others to know about it.

    You see things like these buildings that we build for the sake of this work. These cool sound systems that we add, and the screens, which I'm not using today. They serve a purpose. It's a tool for us to be able to accomplish what we're trying to do together as one in the body of Christ. To try to seize the opportunity as we live, to make Christ known to the world around us in our immediate vicinity and across the globe. True for every church that builds and proclaims in the name of Christ. And at the same time, these are very valuable tools. It doesn't matter. For all of this will pass away. Not one brick will be left upon the other. All that matters in the end is that we proclaim God's love to a world in need. As one in the body of Christ. That we seize the day, Martin Luther is famed to say that if I knew for certain that the end of the world was tomorrow, I would still plant a tree today.

    This is our opportunity. Not to take comfort in the things we accomplish. But to look forward to the full realization of what God has accomplished in Jesus Christ. Through Christ's death and resurrection, we are loved, we are forgiven. We are welcomed into the Eternal Kingdom, something that we celebrated with Finn earlier in his baptism today! We come to the table and we feast on the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen us in this journey to give us the energy from the inside out. To truly live each day in preparation for the last. Not so that we can somehow arrange our affairs so that we are in good standing with God, we already are because of Jesus. So that we together can proclaim the good news of forgiveness of love. Of everlasting life that is the promise. So when these stones collapse, one upon the other. When the chaos of this world that continues to reign is finally hushed. We know that we will be forever in paradise with our Lord. And that starts here today. At your baptism. And all throughout your life. May you live the promise of God. For it is here NOW. Amen.