We have two weeks left in the year! (The lectionary year, that is). Next week “Reign of Christ” marks the end of the lectionary journey which began late last November with the season of Advent, the time of anticipation of the birth of the Christ child. After a short season of “AHA!” (Epiphany) and celebration of God’s coming here in flesh and bone, we moved quickly through Lent to the death of this man Jesus, to be surprised again on Easter Sunday with the news that death was not the final act, but the beginning of a world-changing faith. Pentecost filled us with the light and firey inspiration of the Spirit of God, and launched us into the looooong season after Pentecost, where we explored Mark’s Gospel account of a Jesus on the move, in a burning rush to proclaim the Dream of God, and now, all of a sudden, it’s almost over!
Mark’s Gospel has been a rough and tumble read, Mark’s Jesus is not a patient or gentle soul, but a passionate one, on fire with conviction that God’s Dream – of human communities mirroring God’s compassion, jGod’s ustice, God’s gift of equity based on common humanity, rather than humanly constructed inequity based on greed – was the only way to live in a world of empires, selfishness and fear. We might hope for a simple summary from Mark, a moment of quiet teaching and encouragement from Jesus, but not. What we get is “a little apocalypse”. (Mark 13:1-8) Rumours of wars, end-time signs, a real sense of ‘imminent danger’ a code-orange type text deliberately designed to unsettle… Thanks at lot, Jesus, via Mark! I hope you can join us on Sunday to see what we do with this apocalypse; if you can’t you will find the sermon posted on our church website by mid week.
Meanwhile, perhaps you’ll find encouragement from the second reading for this Sunday – Hannah’s Song. It’s in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, and you can click the link here.
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=220080186. If you hear echoes of Mary’s Magnificat in this song, you’d be right. I like to imagine that Hannah’s song was passed down from mother to daughter for generations, a precious pearl in the spirituality of women, shaping a womanly awe at the God-given miracle of every human birth. For those of you who are mothers, or the husbands or sons of mothers, imagine the miracle of your own birthings, and see if you don’t find yourself written and sung into the verses of this song. What verses might you add from your own experience??