SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2014
Psalm 20, 21:1-7; Isaiah 4: 2-6; Luke 21: 5-19
Luke was aware that the destruction of the Temple that Jesus describes in this passage was not the end, just another horrible blip on history’s chart. Likewise, we don’t believe Jesus to be returning in the next few minutes, and unlike some current Christians, we do not expect to be plucked from a suffering world before the end. No, we fully expect—and if we are listening to Jesus, we desire—to be no place but here, in the midst of suffering, witnesses to the possibility of hope, justice, and mercy.
At the same time, as today’s Gospel tells us, the delay of the end is no excuse for complacency in the Christian life. For people of faith, our faithful response to the specter of the apocalypse must always be one of hope. If we believe, with Jesus, that God has a plan to redeem creation, then the world is always moving past its current difficulties toward a more perfect future.
But hope must always be more than just a vague desire that things turn out right. Hope is a verb. The Anglican theologian John Polkinghorne puts it this way: “Because hope is much more than a mood, it involves a commitment to action. Its moral character implies that what we hope for should be what we are prepared to work for and so bring about.”
By your endurance you will gain your souls.
Dr. Greg Garrett, ’07
Greg Garrett is Writer in Residence at the Seminary of the Southwest and 2013 Centennial Professor at Baylor University. He also serves as a licensed lay preacher at St. David's, Austin. The author or co-author of over twenty books of fiction, memoir, theology, and translation, he is (according to BBC Radio) one of America's leading voices on religion and culture.