Submitted by Jan on Tue, 08/11/2016 – 11:45
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 27th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 28
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Luke
Chapter: 21
Verse: 5 – 19

Reading today’s texts, it is again easy to get despondent. The Bible surely does not sugar-coat difficulties!

Wars, earthquakes, famine, harassment, betrayal, hate, even execution…

For 12 verses, we hear how difficult things can be. And with every new calamity, I feel my shoulders hanging more.

When we look around us in difficult times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

But although the Bible is very honest about difficulties and the broken world we live in, we are never left without hope.

In the last two verses we see hope shine through when everything seems hopeless: “8 Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. 19 By holding fast, you will gain your lives.”

What does this ‘holding fast’ mean? Is this a fearful hanging on, an anxious clasping of the truth to our chests? This can very easily be our reaction. We also see this reaction amongst Christians. In Afrikaans we talk about “laer trek” – the protective measure of “circling the wagons” to protect themselves and their livestock. In difficult times it is easy to turn inwards to protect what we think is being threatened- whether this is a real or only a perceived threat.

This evening I read a powerful quote on a friend’s Facebook wall, which challenged me to respond differently.

“Out of our discontent, whatever its cause, we find ourselves dreaming of life as we think it ought to be. This combination is a tremendously powerful engine: discontent coupled with the capacity to envision better things. An engine of transformation. Which could be why we’ve been made this way.”

– Br. Mark Brown, Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Maybe this is how we should “hold fast”. The Gospel according to Luke does not stop in these verses of despondency, it carries on to tell of the promise of new life. This message is repeated in some of the Old Testament texts of the week. God will never “stop” when there is no hope, but maybe He created us so that we can live in this tension of discontent and hope so that we can be His engine of transformation.

To think about: How should you “hold fast” to the message of new life and transformation this week?

Author: van Rooyen L (Ms)
Language: English

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