Sunday 18th November (33B)

MARK 13:1-8
There’s a transitional stage
in childbirth –
unpredictable, painful, even frightening
when new life is on the verge
of chaos, disaster, even death
yet out of this painful, precarious event
comes life –
ever so fragile…

And so Jesus describes
the birthing of God’s realm of peace and justice:
chaos, disaster, even death;
false prophets;
wars, rumours of wars.
That hitherto greatest symbol of God-with-us,
the Temple,
and amid disaster and dislocation
a symbol:

Not the end
but a beginning.
Events to come will make the present insignificant,
but not yet.
A time when Rome seems defeated,
but not yet.
A time when Rome will exact a price for defiance,
but not yet.
Size and strength count for little
in a realm of scattered grain or mustard bush.
found in the frailty of human hearts and lives.

The birthpangs,
the transition stage,
unpredictable, painful even frightening.
Not the beginning of the end
but the beginning of a new beginning.

Advent approaches
with a reminder,
not with fear and trepidation
but with hope, anticipation
and a spirit of discernment
for the ways of God’s realm breaking in
on our world:
(Adapted from a sermon from some years ago, which may have drawn on material from other, long-forgotten, sources.)
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
  More for Sunday 33B…