Saturday, December 8, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Endurance

Broken, 2008 (Panel 3 of Four Fold Action), jfd+
Psalms 20, 21:1-7(8-14) * 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117; Isaiah 4:2-6; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Luke 21:5-19

A scary and frightening reading from Luke today, with the magnificent glory of the Temple being destroyed, and wars, and earthquakes, famines, plagues, and persecutions, betrayals and deaths being presaged by Jesus.

Volumes have been written giving voice to myriad explanations: some taking things literally, others metaphysically. We know that when Luke wrote this "orderly account" of the life of Jesus' ministry that the Temple was already destroyed. We know that there was a definitive split occurring between the Jesus Way and the temple-society. But, what does this mean for us today? For what are these words of Jesus a metaphor for us?

He ends these dire warnings with You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. If we step back and try not to be literal, Jesus (Luke and his redactors) is (are) leading us to give thought to our lives, our circumstances, and how we live out the faith we profess. 

We are called to live into, have our realities shaped by Jesus' teachings - starting with the Sermon on the Plain (in Luke) and interpreting his parables told thereafter. To be strengthened by common worship and our sharing in the sacraments. Those weekly (or more) reminders can give us the fortitude to face the disbelief, and outright ignoring, that surrounds us in society. Discouragement is a natural by-product, a natural reaction to the acuteness of the ignorance to the message we believe central to our existence. Endurance, community, prayer, and the sure-knowledge of God's present love for us can help stave off the exhaustion.

This is hard work we are called upon to do...but not impossible nor impractical...just the right and proper thing on which to focus our efforts.

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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