Thursday, November 15, 2007

Looking to the future, and looking to yourself

Readings for Sunday 18th November, 25th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 28: Isaiah 65:17-25 and [Isaiah 12 or Malachi 4:1-2a] and Psalm 98 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Luke 21:5-19

In what is quite a funny sketch from the classic sixties revue Beyond the Fringe the question is asked of a seer like figure with a very silly voice
When will
it be this end of the world?
We have a sort of religious fascination with the end time.
Some religious people waste their time (in my opinion) trying to work out signs, codes and instructions for when this time will be (hence the comedy sketch)
rather missing the point of what all this talk of end time is all about.
The reading from Isaiah 65 today, does remind us
that there is always a sense in which God is restoring, creating and making
Behold I am making all things new...this is not just about the physical environment of religion
it is the driving force in life
constant renewal
reforging, readdressing reality.....we might say in a rather pedestrian way

Getting in touch with reality
The little snippet from the correspondence to the church in Thessalonika,
what is today Greece's second largest city and the capital of Hellenic Macedonia,
is part of a church which struggles to understand just when this fullness that is prophesied,
and which is associated with the return of Jesus, will come
This is the earliest of the early church coming to grips with what Jesus was talking about
when he talked about bringing this new creation to reality
Paul is reminding them to continue living
because the working out of the kingdom
does not mean that we put our lives on hold
or give up our jobs so that we can pray more earnestly, or what ever.
So he is quite blunt

All this is quite in line
with Jesus tells us
though the early Christians had to learn this
They had to learn that far from being removed
from the everyday life we lead
the kingdom of God was to be found right among it.
Instead of withdrawing from the world
to find holiness
we are discover the truth
that the kingdom of God is right here in our midst.

It will be where we feel most alive!

Where is that place for you? It may be surprising
but that is where we ought to look.

It will almost certainly not be in the religious box,
and it will be unpredictable
so, says Jesus, don't waste your time trying to predict it
when you should be engaging with it.

In that curious little snippet
when we are called to account for our faith
Jesus reminds us that we shouldn't look for the right answer
or the prepared answer
but rather look deep within
allow the very depth of our being to speak

We already know this to be true.
The kingdom is within each of the baptised
it is within and bubbling up
a spring of life.
Like the Thessalonians, and all Christians we have to learn to normalise this experience
to earth it
to tap into what gives us life already.

Where do you feel alive today?
Where is God inviting you to live the kingdom?
To drink from the fountain of living water?

To become the new creation!

No comments: