Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

 Today’s text

Luke 21:14-19

Make up your minds not to prepare your defense, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.  You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated universally on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives.


Jesus looks ahead to a cataclysm that had occurred by the time his words were written down in the Gospel of Luke. He saw it coming.

Roman troops occupied the city. Revolutionary movements were arming themselves and whispering war. The population was tired, over taxed and dispirited.

Conditions were ripe for deluded separatists to imagine they could rise up against the Roman military juggernaut and free the nation from foreign occupation. The people would surely rise up and join their cause.

It didn’t take a much of a prophet to see catastrophe on the horizon.

Destruction came in the years following Jesus words. The temple, the center of Jewish life, the holy place where heaven and earth meet, was crushed. Its courts were large enough to hold 400,000 people. Its towering thick walls moved awe for the God who inspired its size, grandeur and unparalleled beauty. But it was reduced to pavement scattered with stones.

Predictable things happened in the wake of the military catastrophe. The Romans destroyed and plunder anything of worth, society was torn apart, people argued, families turned on each other, and early Christians were persecuted, hated and scapegoated as being responsible for helping precipitate disaster.

Amid all this Jesus sounds a bit like Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Forget worry! Don’t even prepare.

His message: You will have what you need. I will give it to you. Words and wisdom for the day will appear when you need it. Trust. I will not leave you to face the peril alone. Lift up our hearts. Salvation is near. God is at hand.

Keep calm and carry on.

I think those were the words Winston Churchill, England’s Prime Minister, spoke to his nation during the Nazi blitz of London.

I like the message. It invites me to place my soul in the promise that God will not leave me. My soul lies in, is surrounded by the great soul of God. The divine soul is my bed, my resting place, the home to which I return and lie down in peace.

I can visualize this. I see a great expanse, a huge field of grass, soft as I lay in it. Looking to my left and to the right I see no end to this great plain. It is immense, unlimited, extending to every horizon. There is no place it is not.

And I am one small soul, one person, lying in the grass, resting safely in my home, gazing into the blue sky, soaking up the sun, knowing this peace is the truth. The chaos around me, the rise and fall of nations, the rejections and pains, the disruption of societies as times and values change--all this is not the home of my soul.

My home is this restful assurance to which Jesus invites me.

Just keep calm and carry on, he says. I’ve got this. Don’t lose your soul to the chaos around you. Find it in me.

Pr. David L. Miller

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