Sunday, November 15, 2009

Almost Advent

Today's Saying

It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. ~Howard Ruff

This Sunday is one Sunday away from the end of the Liturgical Church Year so the people who put together the common lectionary have chosen to give us a wake up text from the thirteenth chapter of Mark which is often called the little apocalypse.
In this text Jesus’ Disciples want to know when the end will come. They want to know what the sign will be when the Kingdom of God fully breaks in.
So Jesus give them some signs.
At the end times people will come claiming to be Jesus and will lead people astray.
There will be wars and rumors of wars.
There will be earthquakes and famines.
And these are the birth pains of the Kingdom.
When I was a kid I went to a rural school. Twice a year the fire alarm was sounded and we were all taken to our proper places. Some of us got to ride down the enclosed escape slide on the side of the building. It was fun.
But its intention was to make us aware of the warning sign, the alarm, and wghat to do when we heard it. Then our life would depend on it.
Jesus gives us a sign. The sign is like reading the paper or watching TV. There are fake Messiahs, earthquakes, famines, wars, and rumors of wars yet to come.
Does this mean we are living in the end times?
Not necessarily. Just because the alarm went off doesn’t mean the building is burning.
But it is a call to the Christian to be ready to be kinder, more loving, to share Jesus with as many people as possible.
Being ready is a good thing.
See the signs.
Live the life.

It is Pastor Joan’s third week preaching in the old towering pulpit in the old wood church. She has decided to preach on the text for the Sunday. Here is part of that sermon:
“ Jesus said at the end there will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be famines and earthquakes.
If we had always lived here in this time we would think the end times are a long way off.
We live in a little valley of peace. There are no wars and no rumors of wars around us. Food is plentiful. There have been no earthquakes. We can relax the signs don’t apply.
The Civil War is over from now on only peace and prosperity for the nation.
If you lived in New York you might have hear some rumblings from Europe where nations arming.
You might also have heard of a famine or two and an earthquake. But none of it touching you.
You knew the signs didn’t involve you.
But we haven’t always been here. We lived in the age of Television and all the wars, famies, and earthquakes have flowed into our living rooms. The signs were all around us.
Jesus calls on us to see those signs and get ready.
It is time for us to live the faith.
I tell you this this morning because I believe we will get back to 2009. I believe that.
I believe that after this rest in this peaceful valley we are called to get ready.
Christ is coming again.
He is.”


Blogger anthonynorth said...

So many people get the wrong meaning from apocalypse. It's most accurate meaning is revelation.

1:33 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

I found it somewhat strange Dr. John,
that after reading your post the phrase that came to my mind was
"There will be peace in the valley".
The words are from a hymn I believe.
Love Di

4:39 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I'm as bad as the apostles... I want MORE signs! I want something solid. Something that couldn't apply to ANY other time or place! Ohhhhhh but God wants FAITH. So faith I give... because it's not about MY wants, is it?

I'm not sure I would call these "lovely" sermons today -- but I'm awake! And off to church!

5:29 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Now, see your version makes sense to me. Alarms for practice makes sense.

Sunny Sunday #6 - Color Me Sunny

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Being ready is a good thing.
See the signs.
Live the life." Seems to me that this says it all. Have a great Sunday my friend :)

6:47 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

A note to Anthonynorth. People who connect apocalypse to the end times are not wrong. From the second century on the Church has pretty much restricted this term to a specific kind of revelation, namely that which referred to the end times.
That meant Daniel and Revelations plus five or six books that didn't make it into the canon.So though the general term apocalypse may mean revelation. It now pretty much has to do with end times revelation. Word meaning is determined by use.
Thus the coming apocalypse in effect says that what has been revealed is about to come to pass.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

Maybe I am wrong, but I do not worry because I have faith in our Savior. Like you, I do see some signs.

My book you sent me has not come yet. I will check the mail tomorrow.

Blessings and Peace.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Another wonder Sunday post. Thank you. I look forward to them.

I especially like, "Just because the alarm went off doesn’t mean the building is burning."

11:59 AM  
Blogger DawnTreader said...

I think we've been living in the end times for a long time (2000 years or so)
The perspective in the second sermon gets really mind boggling - I like it!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

The visiting Pastor at our congregation spoke on this verse today. She told us that God is a verb, not a noun, and he is at work in us, so we should be working for him, so that we are prepared, because he is coming.

3:49 PM  
Blogger boots said...

thanks Doc, I needed the reminder of being ready... Actually I needed to hear the name "Jesus". Thanks

5:13 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

And of course, the sermons work beautifully with your quote, as Noah was getting ready for something that he couldn't see that was a long way off.

Saw that you weren't feeling so well yesterday. I hope that today was a better one for you. :)

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!
...I probably shouldn't blog at one o'clock in the morning. I do like your explanation, Dr. John.

I've missed a lot, I had no idea we were no longer in 2009. I guess I've got some catching up to do in Pigeon Falls!

10:02 PM  

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