Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Christmas is coming, and the Gospel of Mark kicks off the season with words of warning. Not what you expected? Well, there’s a good reason for that…
We begin our time of waiting and anticipating the coming of Christ with these fearful words of foreboding.
This piece of scripture is plucked from the midst of a chapter about turmoil and terror, destruction and persecution.
And it comes right before Judas agrees to betray Jesus,
and the powers that be make their plans to arrest and kill Jesus.
They scheme to put down this troublemaker by stealth,
all in an effort to keep the people from rioting.
This is how we begin in the season of Advent.
This is how we prepare as a church to receive Jesus,
in the midst of a troubling time, with words of warning.
In our place and time, just as in that place and time so long ago, Christians are tempted by many powers that promise us peace. There is the assurance of peace in the strength of government and its agencies. The powers of brute strength, violence, and weaponry claim that they are the way to peace. Peace is marketed to us in the things we can buy and the money we can accumulate. Delicious and entertaining distractions call us consume their peace.
But the peace they offer is corrupt, ultimately destructive, shallow, fleeting. The peace they offer cannot conquer our suffering, and many times may only deepen it.
Yet in this season, those voices call out in a deafening refrain. They are persistent and unavoidable, just like the Christmas tunes that begin to plague us the day after Halloween.
But Jesus’ words cut through the noise, with a jarring reminder to pay attention.
The real peace is coming.
A peace surpasses all understanding.
Peace that is up to the challenge of a suffering world.
So while we wait, do not let yourself be deceived or distracted from the peace of Christ.