Rev. Mary Earle Meditation

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Psalm 5,6; Amos 3:1-11; Matthew 21:12-22

This portion of Matthew’s gospel begins so simply: “Then Jesus entered the temple.” Part of me thinks there should be a cautionary comment: “So buckle your seat belts.” No sooner does Jesus enter the temple than things are literally overturned—tables upended, money changers challenged, sellers of doves hustled out amid feathers. Advent reminds us that the babe who comes at Christmas grows into a man who desires that the whole human family be given respect and dignity. Advent, so full of beginnings, also thunders with endings in this first week. We are reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.

Our culture is all about getting fresh starts. There is nothing wrong with that, except that it is a partial view of reality. Before a new beginning, an ending comes. Before a transformation, a falling apart. Before a resurrection, a death.

How we shy from this truth. It is so tempting to see Advent only in terms of warmth and impending birth. Yet Jesus’ mother Mary knew from the moment that Gabriel showed up that life as she had known it was over. As her own bodily temple was infused with the Holy Spirit, her life was overturned. Whoever she thought she would be, I have no doubt that the Mother of the Savior was not an option.

Jesus comes into the temple of our lives. Advent calls us to remember that he is Alpha and Omega.

As Advent unfolds, may we welcome your incarnate presence, O Christ, in the endings and the beginnings of our lives. Amen.

The Rev. Mary Earle
St. Mark's Episcopal Church (retired)
2013 Hal Brook Perry Distinguished Alumni Awardee
MDiv 1987