Proper 28 – Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; (or Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16); Hebrews 10:11-14(15-18)19-25; Mark 13:1-8

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

                When will the stones come tumbling down?  That’s what the apostles want to know after Jesus’ comment about the building blocks of the Jewish temple (Mark 13:4).  The apostles probably thought that the destruction of the temple would mean the end of their world.  Jesus wants to make one thing perfectly clear.  When these things happen, it is not the end of the world (Mark 13:7).  Sadly many Christians believe that real life begins in the next.  Jesus believed that real life is now, and needs transformation, not termination.  Stones have been tumbling for centuries.  Most recently stones have been plummeting in the streets of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.  This is happening also in the private lives of people who lose jobs, get divorced, and in the lives of children living homeless on our city streets.  Jesus says that when these things happen we are not to be deceived.  The end is not yet.  These are only birth pangs, labor pains (Mark 13:8).  When there are labor pains we know that new life is near.  Rather than hankering for escape into the afterlife, Jesus calls for us to give birth.  How do we know what God wants us to do?  We learn from the Bible that God does not lure us into abundant life by urging us to play it safe.  Hints of God’s guidance may be found in dark places, fearful dreams.  In all this talk about stones falling Jesus is pointing out the dark places.  It sure seems like chaos, but that is how stars are made.  Stepping out into the unknown chaos requires improvisation, as in jazz, because the score has not yet been written.  Life is a tune we all play.  God wants spiritual musical entrepreneurs.  Sure, it is risky and scary.  No one has played this tune before.  It is ours alone.  Our individual abundant lives are not found in any convention, or previously published work.  We hear the melody in our heads (hearts), even as the walls come down around us.  Fear not.

Greek

                Mark 13:2 says “not one stone will be left.”  In the Greek a double negative is used, which is a big no-no in English (not nothing will be left?).  But in Greek it is acceptable and is used to give added emphasis.  Jesus is saying “Certainly, no stone will be left.”  In other words, Jesus is saying that bad times will surely come.

Haiku

Tumbling stones on heads.

Dust settled to clear the air.

Behold dancing stars.

 

 

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