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November 19, 2019

Scripture Luke 21:5–15

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

Luke 21:5-6 NRSV

The scripture selection today seems a bit sad and depressing. We would like to have something far more encouraging and upbeat before us. But, the underlying message for us is hope. These verses in Luke inform us that God never abandons us, even though we so often interpret events that way. And, God remains present with us, understands our plight, and is sympathetic to our condition. We need to realize that like the glittering temple before the crowd around Jesus, things can and do change. No matter your view or understanding of the world, we are in a sea-change in society that we cannot control. Sometimes, we feel as if we are holding on to the mast of a ship that is taking on water and being driven back by the wind.

And yet, often we have periods of calm and brightness throughout any given day or week. A local resident attends a worship service and feels God’s claim on their life. An isolated congregation serves as a beacon of hope for the homeless in the area, who then receive needed shelter, medical assistance, counseling, and education. People of all faiths and backgrounds gather as volunteers to help rebuild a park for children in nearby housing. Even when things seem bleak, hope leads to activity and the joining together into a community bound together in care and love.

Forty years after Jesus spoke these words, Jerusalem lay in ruins and the Jewish people were scattered throughout the known world. As bad as that was, God was still God and remains so today. In these verses, Jesus says, Take heart. These are not the end times. When they come, you will know it. And, if we understand that God has all power and knows all things, then you and I can live into the future with hope and continue to give from our hearts to others in need, helping them but also serving the call of Christ and God’s ever-present Holy Spirit.

Stan Reid

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