November 29, 2014

Welcome To the End Time – and Advent in Year B

Advent 1 marks the beginning of a new liturgical Year. During Year B, we will be going through Mark’s Gospel. In 51 weeks we will be back to the Reading for Proper 33 which is just before the Gospel Reading for today (Mark 13.24-37). Jesus is nearing the end of His ministry and is giving a teaching on the End Time otherwise known as the ‘Day of the Lord’. This is the apocalyptic time at the end of history when the Hebrews and Christians believed there would be wars, plagues, apostasy by many, massive destruction and God / Jesus world return to judge the living and the dead and welcome the ‘blameless’ into heaven. The Bible teaches that the rest would be toast (i.e. dead) or sent to purgatory for cleansing. Modern false prophets teach that everyone is somehow included. Advent is a time of warning to prepare for both the coming of Jesus at Christmas and the Second Coming at the end of time.

 1. Isaiah 64.1-9 is a cry for help from a God who really does help
Isaiah is pleading for intervention against the enemies of God. What is important is that he is in a personal relationship with God and he knows that God has intervened in the past in mighty acts of power. This is in dramatic contrast to the other gods of other religions who have never left any real physical evidence:

November 14, 2014

Faith-Full Christians Grow Their Gifts (Proper 33, 2014)

We are at the end of the liturgical year. Next Sunday we celebrate the Reign of Christ. Jesus is teaching us about the End Times also known as the “Day of the Lord”. The question is “who will be included in the Kingdom of God? – and who will be excluded?”. The Readings give us three answers:

·         Judges 4.1-8 would include the Nation of Israel if it remained faith-full to its Covenant with God

·         1 Thess.4.13-18 includes the ‘people of light’ who die ‘in-Christ’ i.e. are faith-full to their Baptism into Jesus Christ

·         Mt. 25.14-30 includes those who grow their gifts

 1. There are consequences for rebelling against God
In the Judges Reading the People of God – the Nation of Israel have been “sold into the hands of Jabin, King of Caanan. The Hebrews were in a ‘Covenant’ relationship with God. God owned them and could punish rebellion by withdrawing His protection and using a pagan king to oppress them until they repent.