We live in pretty crazy times, right?
I don’t know about you but it seems like there is a lot of change all happening at the same time, and not all of it is good.
I know, I know. My parents used to say things like that too, so it’s possible that the change is as change is, but that my tolerance for it has diminished.
I grew up with a telephone in the house that was a party line shared with other houses on my block. Yeah, I am that old!
But to me it didn’t seem that bad, certainly not as bad as now.
Well except for Vietnam!
I knew a guy who came back and was struggling. He died in his twenties.
And another friend died from results of Agent Orange.
And Jack Kennedy, a Democrat and a Catholic got elected President.
And then the riots, and cities burning, and Kent State.
But we had a pool in the backyard, and dad would come home from work and we would all go for a swim and it was all good.
But now there are fires in the paradise of Hawaii!
And the hottest July and August on record just happened.
And there is a war in Ukraine.
Not a war like World War 1 or 2, but bad. No atomic weapons have exploded. No, the Huns and the Goths and Visigoths and those rotten Vikings haven’t attacked and carried away whole towns.
But it’s bad.
I mean we are all mad at each other, and the political arguments are just nuts. And there are people trying to steal my identity online.
And families are struggling. It’s true and it stinks!
No, not exactly Great Depression struggling, but people need our food pantry and are have ridiculous mortgages, and don’t even try to buy a car or a grocery cart full of dinner for next week.
But does that mean it is the “End Times”?
Yes, most certainly!
But is it the beginning of the “end times”, or the end of the “end times”?
Because right there is the key question!
Because it reveals a sense that while we seem to be closer in some ways to Jesus’ return, in other ways it also seems like we are right back where the disciples were when they asked the question in today’s scripture reading.
When Jesus says, “Do you see these buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place,” he was talking about the Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans when they sacked Jerusalem in 70AD.
Imagine any of those disciples who were still alive seeing that and not being absolutely horrified.
And then remembering Jesus’ words.
Yes, times are bad, but it’s not like Washington is on fire and the capital and all its buildings are destroyed, and foreign troops are advancing on their next target.
Yes, churches are struggling and some have felt under attack. Yet so many are doing gospel work everyday and “making a difference”!
So, what was Jesus’ point when he talked with his disciples?
The end is coming, he is telling them. And Jesus arrival, ministry, death, resurrection starts the clock.
And he tells them that while things will get bad, the most important thing to do is…
Do what you have been called to do.
Go into all the world…
And make disciples…
And teach them all that Jesus has taught us.
Are these the End Times?
Yes. And things will get bad at times!
But we, you and I, know exactly what to do.
Keep being disciples.
When others are upset, panicking even, we are to keep the faith, follow the master, and live like God’s in charge.
Because God is – hallelujah!