November 15th, 2015 Scriptures for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost
Scriptures: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11–25; Mark 13:1-13
These last few Sundays in November bring us to the end of the church year. During these closing weeks of the month, the assigned Scriptures turn to discussions about the end of all history. Daniels’ prophetic word which turns on ‘a time of trouble (literally a ‘wringing of the hands’) such as never has been since there was a nation till that time’ takes on deep significance as we measure it against battles in the Middle East and now even in the streets of Paris. In fact Jesus’ words echo what the world will be like when He says to His disciples, ‘And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
With no disrespect intended to those who lost their lives in Paris and their families, or in Syria, or in Iraq or parts of Africa and other locations virtually around the globe, these things must take place. They are but the beginning of what is to come. We haven’t seen anything yet! So how can we, as followers of Jesus not focus on these events but on something else? The writer to the Hebrews helps us when after the goodness shown to us in Jesus is declared, he calls on us to ‘keep drawing near to God’ in confidence and faith. We do this continuing to confess what we know, namely that as Daniel declares, ‘But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name is written in the book.’ And we hold fast to this confession of our hope, not because somehow we can be bold or strong enough, but rather because, ‘He (God) who promised is faithful.’ We declare this as we continue to meet together around His word, as we find ways to stir one another up to love and good works and encouraging each other with acts of service and faith done in HIS name.
We do this not out of fear or a wringing of hands but in full faith that what God declares He does and what He does He declares. ‘Amen, Come Lord Jesus.’