Friday, November 15 2019
“When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down’” (Luke 21:5-6).
The temple at the time of Jesus was beautifully adorned. Josephus describes the temple as such, “whatever was not overlaid with gold was purest white” (Josephus, Jewish War 5.5.6). King Herod had lavishly adorned the temple with gold. No one could imagine that this beautiful temple could be destroyed. In the year 70 C.E. the Romans, under Titus, burned and destroyed the temple to the ground. Not a stone in the temple was left unturned. Gold was removed from each stone before setting the temple on fire. When Jesus spoke in the temple, it was beyond the imagination of the Jews that something so beautiful would be destroyed in their lifetime. When Luke wrote the Gospel, the prophecy that Jesus spoke had already come true. The magnificent temple in Jerusalem had already been utterly destroyed. The stuff that we see as magnificent pales in comparison to the love of God found in the Good News of Luke’s Gospel. As we finish our wrap up of the Gospel of Luke for this lectionary cycle, let us remember the question that we have been dealing with all year. “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:19). Jesus was called the Son of God, Prophet, Lord, Messiah or Christ, Son of Man, and Savior. Jesus preached God’s redemptive plan for the salvation of all humanity. Even death no longer had a sting.
This week we look towards our mission trip next summer to Puerto Rico. Hurricane Dorian leveled parts of the Bahamas recently with winds in excess of 180 MPH. Our parish sent funds to help the Bahamas recover. Puerto Rico was utterly turned upside down by Hurricane Maria a few years ago and we are working on a long-term relationship to help them recover. Last year we heard stories of terrified individuals that had no place to go and weathered the storm. One 80-year-old woman survived by holding a sheet of plywood against the windows to prevent water from rushing in her house. Another family put all their pigs, chickens and dogs into their living room to save them from the wind and water. Several years later, roofs are still leaking and there are not enough adequate shelters ready for the next hurricane. On July 5-10th, St John’s will send a mission team to continue our relief effort. Most of all, we make good friends and bring the love of God into their lives. If you are interested, please attend the meeting after the 10:00 service in the guild room.
Jesus asks us to see the temporal world for what it is and to look beyond to the eternal world. Last week I said that the resurrection proves that love is stronger than death. In fact, God’s love is stronger than anything. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God… For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:18-19, 38-39).
In Christ’s love,