Proper 28, Mark 13:1-8
In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus warns the disciples of conflict to come, of suffering, and to beware of imposters.
Jesus of Nazareth is in Jerusalem with his followers and the magnitude of the Temple is awe-inspiring. One of the disciples exclaims, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” (Mk 13:1) To which Jesus replies by stating that the buildings will be brought down: “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” (Mk 13:2)
The Gospel of Mark is believed to be the first of the Gospels written, sometime around 70 CE, when the Romans attacked Jerusalem in retaliation for a Jewish revolt and The Second Temple was destroyed. It is to these events Jesus alludes to. After he is gone the disciples will have to stay vigilant in the ministry given to them by Christ in a time of turmoil.
This gospel speaks to us today.
Our democracy and our society are being threatened by people who say they’re Christian, yet everything they do and say is antithetical to the good news and teaching of Christ. The former president said during his campaign and at his inauguration that only he alone could fix it, i.e., the country. We watched as the stones of our lives were thrown down. He was an imposter – the kind Jesus warns us about. Rather than build a new infrastructure for America and give stability to its citizens with affordable health care, housing, and living wages, stones were thrown down. We woke in the morning to wonder what he’d done overnight that would put lives in peril, what ideals had he trampled on?
The stones for us are ideals that we are created equal, and that racism, sexism, and ageism have no place in our society, that we can have school programs to give our children a head start at whatever they want to do, and that they don’t start the day or go to bed at night hungry.
He was an imposter – the kind Jesus warns us about. Rather than build a new infrastructure for America and give stability to its citizens with affordable health care, housing, and living wages, he gave us discord.
As Jesus warned the disciples, he warns us now. We are called to hold fast to the good news and share it in our life and work. When stones are thrown down, we pick them up, heavy as they are, and put them back in place, ready to keep building on this experiment called the United States, and this movement started by Jesus.