“When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, [Jesus] said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” (Luke 21:5-6)
Joy and I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch today at our favourite café in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. We did so knowing that in a few weeks’ time there not one stone will be left upon another, but all with be thrown down!
Well … that’s probably an exaggeration, but the central dining and shopping area of Darling Harbour is about to be knocked down and rebuilt. I don’t know why. Joy and I love the place just as it is. Doubtless though somebody has done their calculations and worked out that there’s more money to be made by destroying the existing infrastructure and replacing it with something with more sparkle.
Of course, the renovations that Jesus was referring to in Luke 21 were of an entirely different nature. He was predicting the destruction of their temple by the Roman army – a tragedy that would take place in the year 70 as part of Rome’s brutal suppression of another uprising for Jewish independence.
Not only was the temple completely destroyed on that day, but the entire city was burnt to the ground. According to Josephus, more than a million people were killed! The Roman army indeed painted the town red (which is where the expression comes from) and by the time Luke published his gospel, all this had already happened. Jesus had warned them. Tragically, they had not been able to see ‘the way to peace’ (Luke 19:42).
When we read through the grim list of predictions that Jesus gives in Luke 21, they don’t seem to stop with this one terrible event. Indeed, the tragedy of A.D. 70 seems to be part of an ongoing series of painful events that include earthquakes, famines and plagues, as well as more wars. Indeed, Jesus seemed to see things spiralling out of control and climaxing in betrayals taking place within families.
“You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.” (Luke 21:16)
All this strikes rather close to home. Over the last two years we have experienced turmoil and division across our world on a scale that most of us had never seen nor anticipated. We are just coming out of a plague (or sorts) and we may now be facing a famine! This all seems very contemporary.
The reality of family betrayal is something that resonates painfully with me too. I’m thinking primarily of my former church family. I am still coming to terms with that. One dear member of our online community sent me a recording of a ‘trauma prayer’ this week. I think I need to listen to it a few more times yet.
We might have thought that with the coming of Jesus, the world would be a better place and that things would gradually improve. It didn’t work out like that. Moreover, it seems that Jesus knew it wasn’t going to work out like that. “You will be hated by all because of my name.” (Luke 21:17)
It’s an unnerving passage today, but it makes me smile too. These grim warnings remind me that if people hate us, slander us and write us off, it may not be because we are doing the wrong thing. It may be because we’re doing the right thing, and if we are doing the right thing, we can count on God’s protection to the end.
“Not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.” (Luke 21:18-19)
The Sunday Eucharist
We had a wonderful Eucharist last Sunday, and this despite the fact that our dear brother, Doug Pyeatt, was a no-show. It turned out that Washington State (where Doug lives) was experiencing 70 mile-per-hour (110 kilometers-per-hour) winds, followed by heavy rain and snow! The power was out for almost two days. That was a pretty good excuse for missing our Eucharist!
We are hoping to have Doug with us this week, weather permitting. I also look forward to being joined by Kamini Singh and Karyn Hemming, doing the second reading and prayers, respectively. If Doug is cut off from us again, I’ll have Father Ola with me at Binacrombi and I’m sure he’ll cover for him.
Join us at around 11.45 am this Sunday though any of the usual channels:
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A big thank you to all who support me and our work through monthly contributions via Patreon. Perhaps I’ll reach a stage where I no longer need to keep asking for financial help. Sadly, we are not at that stage yet. Having said that, if my financial struggles result in me to giving something of value to you, all things are indeed working together for good.
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All of the above +
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What’s on this week?
- Sunday, November 13 – The Sunday Eucharist at midday
- Tuesday, November 15 – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Thursday, November 17 – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
In closing, thank you to all who have been praying for our dear sister, Lorraine. Her surgery this week was successful, and she is in recovery. Keep praying too for dear Bob please (our caretaker at Binacrombi) and for me.
May God Almighty bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,