Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jesus and his friends were in Jerusalem in the temple. Some of his friends remarked about the temple how great the stones all looked in their places and how the whole temple was appointed with gold and gifts dedicated to God. And Jesus warned them as they took awe at the work of human hands,

As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” Luke 21:6 NIV.

We who dwell on earth want things to be constant and to just make sense. But the longer we live on this earth the more clearly we see just how many things aren't certain and aren't guaranteed.

A few days ago word came to many in our town that a long standing business will soon stop production in town relocating it's production to another state. The business' production has been slowing for years, but now production will completely cease in town. In my folks neighborhood there's ongoing conversation about a plan to close and consolidate many Roman Catholic churches. For some it's this kind of distressing news that shakes them out of faith in earthly things.

We look for guarantees and certainties and there is a guarantee and certainty; but it's not found in what humans do or accomplish. It is found in Jesus and his Word. The writer of Hebrews wrote boldly of the simple essense of faith,

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

We in the church live on faith nothing more and nothing less. Many search for reified human institutions, traditions, and interpretations of the Word that they can cling to instead of faith. Humans have long conflated church with buildings or church with people who share their exact beliefs. The church just like faith is far simpler than we might make it: the church is the people of God who gather around the Word and Sacraments.

Jesus invited his friends, shortly before his death to live on faith and nothing more. Even when challenged about what they believed he told them to cling to him and not themselves,

So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls. Luke 21:14-19 (NRSV)

The Church is the Body of Christ, believers gather around the Word of God rightly preached and the sacraments rightly celebrated. It's just that simple and Jesus is inviting us to live together on faith in the midst of this world's challenges and changes knowing not even what we'l say when challenged but confident that God will provide words and means for us.

pax, John


JMundinger said...

Thanks for sharing this word, John. It nicely expresses both the challenge and the promise that are implicit in Sunday's Gospel reading.

ps. If you can glean my email address from this comment, please drop me a note. We will be in your state over the holidays and, if you are anywhere close, I'd like to take you up on the offer you extended yesterday.

Unlikely said...

I can't glean your email address. You can reach me at