Scott Sanders launches our Advent series by getting lost in the bush and finding the humble path - at expense of his pride.
Jason John is a Uniting Earth Advocate with the Uniting Church Social Justice Forum NSW/ACT.
Today's reading is Luke 21:25-36
“I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
When I hear those words, I know it’s really me who should be afraid. Whether the news comes from a lecturer, university administration, my boss, the school receptionist, a doctor, or a bunch of scientists.
The difference with the scientists, when they are delivering climate news, is that the bad news applies to them too. They are afraid. And when one confessed to me that his ocean research keeps him up at night, it kept me up at night, too. It feels apocalyptic.
The commitments made at the Paris agreement are one third of what is needed to have a 50/50 chance of staying well below 2°C warming. 80-90% of our coal reserves need to stay in the ground, but our government is opening up the Galilee basin. We are on track for over three degrees of warming – according to the most conservative scientific estimates. If we hit four degrees, scientists warn that we will not be able to adapt, perhaps facing a world of less than one billion humans long term.
Read that paragraph again. There is cause to be afraid.
In today's passage, Luke’s audience also had cause to be afraid. God’s house, the temple of Jerusalem, had fallen to the pagans. People were fainting from fear and foreboding of what was coming upon the world. I know how they felt.
They hoped that Jesus would reappear and save them. I know how they felt.
But the Son of Man didn’t appear in the way they hoped. Instead, they discovered that they were the body of Christ – the hands and feet of God. Called by Christ to follow. To do. To act. To bless. To heal. To love.
To fear, but obey. To fear, but tell the truth. To fear, but glorify God.
One hundred generations later, the body of Christ lives on, walking the same Way. Despite the risks, the costs, the cross.
“Truly,” Jesus promised in Luke, their generation wouldn’t pass away until they saw their salvation coming in the skies.
“Truly,” the scientists warn us, our generation will not pass away before our fate is decided in the skies.
Like Mary, this Christmas we fear, but we obey. We tell the truth. We Glorify God.
We are God’s gift to the Garden. Let's come together and act like it.
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The Coming of the Son of Man
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Exhortation to Watch
34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”