Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place, Jesus says in today's reading from Luke. He has just scared the bejeessus out of the disciples telling them about the demise of Jerusalem and roaring seas and skies and signs in the sun, moon and stars. And then today, compares those awful tidings to the blooms on fig trees and other vegetation. He compares those awful tidings and warnings to the turning of a season. He then says that they will not pass away until they see those things.
I was privileged this past weekend to be the head teller (clergy) for the Diocese of Washington's election of a new bishop. Which means I got to oversee/supervise the voting process and the tallying of those votes. The signs were pretty clear, after the first ballot, who was the favored candidate, and the second ballot proved those signs true with an overwhelming victory for Bishop-elect Mariann Budde to become the Ninth Bishop of Washington. There are often times when there are clear "signs" in life as to where something or some event is trending; we just need to be alert, and paying attention to those signs so we can anticipate and plan accordingly.
Jesus says today that those disciples, if they are alert enough, will see the coming of the Son of Man and the dawning of the new kingdom. Many theologians disagree with that which I am about to wonder, but here goes. I wonder if we are in the kingdom, here and now. If we think about some passages of Scripture, this argument may bear up to the withering scrutiny of nay-sayers. Two of those passages about which I am thinking are:
I wonder if, in one of the Genesis creation stories, we are still in that last day of creation. In those creation passages, the first through the sixth days are clearly marked as having an end, the seventh does not. In the Letter to the Hebrews, we have the phrase (used in Eucharistic Prayer B) "In these last days...." And then we have Jesus saying to those disciples of his, that they will see the Kingdom's start, during their lifetimes. Perhaps we are still in the seventh day of creation. Perhaps we are in "these last days." Perhaps those disciples, and us, are seeing the start of the kingdom.
I wonder if God, having given us the free will that we as human beings all possess, is pushing us to always move toward the new, not stagnate in what is past. I wonder if we are being pushed by Scripture to always be evolving in, and creating by our actions, the kingdom here and now. Making that kingdom palpable among us and by us, through the inspiration of Jesus' life and ministry and the prodding of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps Jesus not only opened the way to eternal life, but opened the kingdom, created the kingdom's potential, for us to continue it's development. Things to wonder about today.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Supervising the Second Ballot, 2011.