Hello friends. In these days, I pray you are taking time for your own spirit and soul in the midst of all the new work we find ourselves facing. Not sure how you are feeling it, but all of the new logistics support I’m doing, and being away from my people while I’m wanting to be nearer to them, and the steep curve of going from no streaming to live streaming in a day, and worrying about my parents and loved ones–I’m tired.
But Sunday’s a comin’, as they say, even if our sanctuaries will be empty. The Narrative Lectionary has us in Mark 13:1-8, 24-37. Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple and then offers an apocalyptic vision.
I don’t know about you, but I’m both excited and terrified to preach an apocalypse while it feels we are living through an apocalypse.
I find comfort in the reminder that we are not the first people to live through challenging times. Whether it is the disciples, worried about Rome destroying their society, or people who lived through the plague in the Middle Ages, or my grandparents who lived through the Depression in the US, or people who have been under attack even during times of prosperity because of the systems of racism that built modern society–we are connected in ways we have chosen to forget.
In some ways, this is about us. It is our new reality. But in other ways, it was never about us. Challenge, upheaval, and disruption are not new to human experience.
In the passage, the upheaval is describe as ‘birth pangs’. Whether those in the pews have given birth or not, it is a reminder of pain that leads to new life. How can we help our people focus on the new life during a time of upheaval, anxiety, and worry? We are called not to be pollyanna preachers of empty optimism, but to deeply claim the gospel hope. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
How are you leaning in to this text this week? Is it in the call to “keep awake”? Is it in the destruction of the Temple? Where is the Gospel tugging at you?
Please share links and ideas for live streaming, for doing time with the kids in a virtual space. How are you connecting with your people while you’re self isolating? Share your ideas in the comments.
Marci Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the boards of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and the Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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