December 1, 2014

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Often times when I officiate at funerals I read a passage from Isaiah 40 that says,

“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

When, as my Book of Common Worship puts it, we “face the mystery of death”, we become aware of the fragile, ephemeral nature of human life, of our lives, and can’t help but wonder if that is the truth of it all; that we blossom in our season and then whither and fade to be heard of no more. Isaiah reminded his generation that while life appears this way much of the time there is a greater, eternal reality of God that endures forever, and we human beings are part of that too. In Mark 13 Jesus is telling his generation to be alert and keep watch because God is about to do a tremendous thing that will shake their lives to its very foundation. They would literally feel like their world was falling apart and externally it would appear so, but behind it all was still the hand of God at work. Jesus claimed here that his words were God’s words and could be trusted, that they bridged the gap from the temporal to the eternal, from the transient to the permanent, from destruction and decay to enduring and emerging life. Isaiah gave this message to his generation. Jesus gave it to his. What are we giving to ours? This week, how will you be watchful for the eternal reality of God breaking into our temporal existence?

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