Festival of Jesus as Chief Elder
Hope in the Worst of Times 7
What is the worst that could ever happen to you? To our church? To our nation? To humanity? This question is not frequently voiced. And Jesus’ disciples were very subtle in opening the subject of the apocalypse (end time) in our Gospel reading today. Jesus and the disciples emerged from the temple, and Jesus spoke of the horror of the shattering of the stones, the very foundation of the temple. The foundation stones (history tells us) were 37.5 feet (12 m.) long by 18 feet (5.5 m.) wide by 12 feet (4 m.) thick. At the end time they would be shattered. Fifty years after these words were spoken, the temple was destroyed by Rome and not rebuilt for centuries.
Human experience through the ages has always known disasters that shattered life as it was known or hoped for. Wars and conflict! Tragedy from storm or fire or earthquake! Living with the Covid-19 pandemic! All were never hoped for—but had to be endured. Despite the loss of life as we wish to live it, we have lived it! Jesus acknowledged that loss and destruction, even at their worst, are integral to human experience.
How do we, in our cataclysmic experiences, in our anticipation of an apocalyptic future, find hope for the new life promised in Jesus, our leader and our Chief Elder? We praise God for the hope we have in Jesus, knowing that he has promised to be with us in all changing and cataclysmic experiences. We are grateful for the strength we experience in the fellowship we enjoy with friends and family and people in our church. We express the love of God we have known in the loving care we give to others. The worst may still come, but in the power and presence of Jesus we can hope for ourselves and for all humans, even in apocalyptic times.
Gordon Sommers, retired pastor