Monday, December 1, 2008

Something is Being Born

The first Sunday in Advent, November 30th, I preached from the lectionary, Mark 13. Mark is the first Gospel; almost all credible scholars say that. It is also the shortest, and the most terse of the three synoptic Gospels. Being the first it was written toward the end of the first century, around 90 AD. So, it is the closest to the time 70 AD when, in fact, the world did end for the Jews and Christians of Jerusalem.

It is also the Gospel that comes closest to being written after King Nero's idiocy. Remember that Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

So, we know that Mark was written to the church during a time of intense presecution for its faith. In Mark, we have this mixture of end-time symbols and images, alongside the stuff that was happening to the church in its present life.

Mark 13 is called the "Little Apocalypse". Apocolyptic Literature is literature like that of the Book of Revelation. It uses symbols and dreams and visions to convey the drama of God's great war with evil. And, it is always meant to be a word of encouragement for the people to whom it is written.

It is saying: "You must endure tribulations, suffering, but it will not last forever; the time of crisis will pass and in God's good time, God will overcome. Good will overcome evil. And, when it's all said and done, the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. Amen."

We, unlike the early Christians, are not being persecuted for our faith, at least not directly, although we do live in a time when our culture not only questions the things of faith but seems to reward cynicism. We are most always living in a time of crisis, economic, or otherwise.

Hear this as a word of encouragement. Jesus says: "Endure. Wait. Watch. For you do not know the time when all these things will occur. Wake up, for you do not want to miss it when it happens. All these things which are happening are just the beginning of the birth pains."

Something is being born. Get ready, not just for Christmas, but get ready to meet God.
See you in Church
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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