The gospel lectionary reading this week, Mark 13:1-8, continues Jesus’ remarks at the Jerusalem temple. Last week he remarked on the poor widow giving all she had back to God through her giving to the temple. This week he remarks on the temple in all its brick and mortar glory: don’t get attached, it will be all thrown down. Maybe Jesus was giving us a prophecy of the online world back in the first century!
When the disciples express their anxiety by asking how can they know this is about to happen, Jesus gives one of his apocalyptic speeches about the end times. You know, sometimes I can’t wait for something to end. A bad movie, for example, or a game where my favorite team is getting clobbered.
And other times, I dread the end of something: a good vacation, a good book, a fun get-together of laughter (remember having those?) And I dread even more what Jesus says here: look, EVERYTHING comes to an end. Your values. Your traditions. Your temple. Your world. Only the Word of God lasts forever.
This is a tough teaching but one that is absolutely transformational. I know my time with Mt. Bethel will end. So everything I do, I do with the question, how can someone else take leadership in this area? If a particular ministry is something the church wants to continue, how do I empower lay leaders to keep it going? Here, Jesus is beginning to prepare disciples for the inevitability that all of our times end. Eventually he will leave them and leave his ministry to them. How does that transform the way we live today, if we admit nothing we have or treasure will last forever, except God?
See you in church or the livestream on Sunday!