Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection: v. 31, ‘you know that the Kingdom of God is near.’
Jesus describes some wild times in this passage–the earth in distress, nations confused, signs in the sky, and the roaring sea. ‘Pay attention,’ he tells his followers, for these things will happen, yes, in your own lifetime, and they mean that the Kingdom of God is near. Now, I am not a doomsday ‘the end is nigh’ kind of preacher, but it is hard not to hear Jesus’ words and compare them to our own generation’s struggles. It is hard not to read this passage and think of the very times we too are living in. Nations confused? Check. Roaring, rising seas? Check. Fear ruling over us? Check. The earth in distress? Need I go on? You get where I am going with this. While I do not espouse a rapture-style apocalypse, it’s hard to look at our groaning planet, it’s hard to look at God’s hurting people, and not say, ‘Yeah, I see the signs in our generation, too.’ So what are we to do? Are we to succumb to fear and hopelessness as we stare into the void of climate change, war, global poverty, and violence? No. Jesus tells us we must pay attention. We must see and acknowledge what is right before us, and we must make sure we haven’t numbed ourselves to it all. We must make sure that we are alert and ready to respond however we can–which is likely with love, compassion, and action. The Kingdom of God is near. That part shouldn’t scare us though. In fact it should assure and encourage us. Look around. Pay attention. There is much to see and much to do. And when we are paying attention, we may also notice all the ways that the Kingdom of God is pouring out and surrounding us–it is within our reach and oh so very near. How can we help bring it in?
Prayer Help us to pay attention, O Lord, that we may do what we can for your planet and your people. Help us to care about your Kingdom.