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A Reflection from Pastor Wendy Kalan

1As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him,

“Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!”

2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings?

Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

Mark 13:1-2 NRSV

It’s hard for us to put into perspective the magnificence of the temple in Jerusalem during Jesus’ time. Josephus, a Jewish historian wrote that it looked like “a mountain covered snow”[1] from a distance. For as long as it had taken to build the temple, it must have been shocking for the disciple hear Jesus say that the building would be destroyed.

And it did come down, nearly 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In fact, Mark’s gospel is thought to be penned upon the papyrus of a scroll when in fact the Romans burnt the temple down. For those living in Jerusalem during that time, the temple destruction and siege against Jerusalem may have felt like their whole world was falling apart.

Certainly, Jesus’ death felt like the disciples’ whole world and hopes came crashing down.

There are moments in human history where it has felt like the world is falling apart. Certainly, COVID felt that way. The effects of climate change and the burgeoning violence in distant lands that people to flee are other signs that may make us feel that way even yet. Not to mention, many of us are struggling with the challenges of aging or accidents that severely limit our ability to know what the future may hold.

While buildings may fall down and our bodies begin to fail or while our way of life and sense of safety feels compromised, it is natural to think that the end must be near. But we aren’t the first generations to feel this way. I doubt we will be the last.

If all else fails and if the world does fall apart, we know that God’s love never fails. Through Christ, we know that even in the face of sin and death, forgiveness, grace and resurrection will follow.

We don’t know when. We don’t quite know how. We just hold on tight to the promise that God’s word is eternal. God is eternal. Love is eternal. It may seem impossible. But every now and then, I see a sign. I observe an interesting answer to prayer. I watch the sunrise. I share a meaningful conversation. I hear a bird sing. I smile at a stranger, and he smiles back. An opportunity to make a difference presents itself.

How have particular disruptions in your life felt like the world was falling apart?

Where has God shown signs of hope in the midst of it all?

[1] Myers, Ched, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus. Orbis Books, 1988, pg. 322


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