Our November 14 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The November 21 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. With an upturn in county COVID cases, we recommend masks even for those who are vaccinated.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Daniel 12:1-3 | Psalm 16
Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25 | Mark 13:1-8
The Gospel lesson is called the “Little Apocalypse of Mark.” It deals with a prediction of the end of time, or at least, the end of the age, and the beginning of something new. It is not just a word of judgment; it also contains a word of hope. The hope is for those who remain faithful. They will be vindicated. That is the hope of all apocalyptic literature in the Bible, such as the text from Daniel, and Revelation.
This is the fourth, and the last time that Jesus is in the Temple in Jerusalem in Mark’s Gospel. He is leaving, perhaps disgusted with the religiosity, and pomposity, of the Jewish leaders.
As he and the disciples leave the Temple, they are impressed by the beauty and the grandeur of the building. And they should be, after Herod the Great’s 42 years of improvements, it was considered one of the wonders of the world. They were impressed by the outward appearance of the building complex. The stones used to erect the building were huge; we can still see some of the foundation on television, when they show the “Wailing Wall.” But, Jesus isn’t impressed. This was just a building. He was more concerned with the situation of the people, and their plight, both physically but also spiritually. The Temple itself had become a place of oppression. He did not see it as a place of worship anymore, or a house of salvation. It was now, as he had said, “become a den of thieves.”
“Do you see these great building? Not one stone will be left here upon another, all will be thrown down.” Within 40 years of making this statement, and about the same time that Mark wrote down this Gospel, these words had taken place. The Romans destroyed the magnificent Temple. They filled the Temple with all the wood in the area, and it burned for three weeks, consuming almost everything.
Later, while sitting on the Mount of Olives, Peter, James, John and Andrew ask Jesus privately about what he had said. Basically, it amounts to, “What now?” Jesus warns of things to come. He warns of false Messiahs and false teachers – and there have been many over the centuries. People who would claim to be the Savior, and sent by God, but would only lead people astray. We still see some once in a while on the evening news. My favorite false teacher right now is some person who calls themselves “Q.” Doesn’t even let out their true identity! Yet, lots of people believe the person. It reminds me of the “Q Continuum” in Star Trek: the Next Generation. And, the Q in that television series was entertaining, and terribly inept. The present “Q” loves to push conspiracy theories. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good conspiracy theory. I don’t believe them. But they are entertaining, and can give an interesting alternate reality. And unfortunately, people believe them, and without any proof! No proof whatsoever! And many are incredibly illogical.
Here’s a good one. Some people believe an anti-vaccine conspiracy theory that the government is putting trackers in the vaccine, so that they know where you are. And people believe it, and won’t get vaccinated for Covid because of it. Here’s the trouble with that train of thought. The technology to build a tracker small enough to go through that little narrow needle doesn’t exist! It is impossible. I’ve had three vaccine injections. I’ve looked at the needle every time. It can’t be done. Second, if you have a cellphone, the phone company knows where you are within a 2×2 foot space already. You may lose your phone, but the phone company knows exactly where it is. The government, if they want to know your whereabouts, only has to ask the phone company where you are. And they do. And the phone company will give them your records. Why would the government spend billions of dollars to put microscopic trackers in a vaccine to know where you are, when the phone company is already doing it, and we are paying for the privilege with our data plans? Come on, give me a good conspiracy theory! I think that Q is a 12 years old kid with a computer who watches too much television.
Jesus warns of wars, and earthquakes and famines yet to come. And again, we are faced with wars, and earthquakes and famines all of the time, not to mention volcanos and global warming. Dreadful things to come. I noticed that Jesus didn’t mention pestilence, since we are in a pandemic. So, hopefully, Covid is not a portent of things to come.
But, and I mean but, these are actually heralds of things to come. Jesus tells the disciples not to be alarmed or worried by these events. They are not things to be afraid of. When they happen, he tells them, remain faithful. They aren’t harbingers of impending doom, but really things to give the faithful hope. “These are just the beginning of the birth pangs.” Birth pangs, that means a new birth. There is going to be a new creation, and on a grand scale. What is being brought forth? Something new that is from God. Something new, and greater is taking place, and we are to look forward to it, indeed we are to participate in it.
The Kingdom of God, a totally new creation, free of sin, is breaking forth into the world. Because of its coming, there is no need of the Temple. There is a new Temple where sacrifice is offered. It is the Temple of Christ himself, and his kingdom, who offered himself for us, once and for all. The Hebrews lesson today tells us that it is not just “new,” but also that it “will not grow old.” He justifies and sanctifies us in his blood. All of the old things are passing away, and the new is coming into being. Jesus tells us that it will be a long, and upsetting process (to many). But we are to watch, and wait, be faithful, and fulfill the task of mission. That is how we participate in this new creation. The mission of proclaiming the coming of this Kingdom, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and even celebrating the old passing away.
In this way, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. It in itself is a sign of the end of the age. It is a foretaste of the feast to come. The Kingdom is here, and not yet. “For as often as we eat of this bread and drink from this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death, until he comes again.” Until he comes again. He will come again.