Oh my. Jesus says today this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.... No wonder those early, first (and second) generation Christians were expecting the end of the world. Jesus says it right here! It's a-gonna happen before this generation passes away! Gird up your loins, folks, cause it's all ending!
I have been referring this Advent to Jesus teaching and preaching in metaphors. What if, what if "this generation" is metaphor? What if, the passing away of heaven and earth are metaphor and not to be taken literally? What if Jesus was not only speaking metaphorically but also analogously and descriptively and imaginatively?
What would it be like to think of Jesus' words, when he speaks of "this generation" as our generation? What would it be like for us to imagine that Jesus is speaking to the ages and saying to each and every generation through these past 2000 years, Hey, this kingdom is open for you! This kingdom that I am proclaiming is available to you, and you, and you! This world can and will radically change, will pass away and be a new thing, my kingdom! A kingdom where we will not be weighed down by the changes and chances of life, where the temptations of dissipation and drunkenness will not trap us.
Looking at Jesus' words in this manner makes them far more difficult to dismiss. For by looking at them as current and relevant today, we are challenged to live into the idea, this Advent Season, of "these last days" as being today, with a new heaven and a new earth available and readily within our grasp. Oh my.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.