Summary: A sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost The End of Time
Sermon for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost
The end of Time?? Fear? Hopefulness!!
5* ¶ And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,
6* "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."
7* And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?"
8* And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ’I am he!’ and, ’The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
9* And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once."
10 Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
11* there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.
13* This will be a time for you to bear testimony.
14* Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer;
15* for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
16* You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death;
17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
19* By your endurance you will gain your lives. RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the Christ.
This text from Luke’s gospel can either garner in us fear, or gladness and hope. Fear about the end of time, or gladness that we who believe will be with Christ will be with Christ at the end of time.
An example of fear:
" A number of years ago, leaders in a church decided to track down the congregation’s dropouts. They combed through the membership list, put together a list of names, and sent out volunteers two-by-two to knock on doors and invite the absent members back to church.
As is often the case, the volunteer visitors discovered that most of the people visited had found other things to do on Sunday morning. One person said, "I would come back to church if it didn’t conflict with my tennis time." Another said, "We came to church when our kids were involved. When they outgrew Sunday School, we stopped going." Another said, "I enjoy going to church on the really big days, like Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July. Compared to those days, other services are a little bit dull."
One response was different. Two volunteers named Jack and Esther went to see a man whom nobody knew. He lived on the end of the street, in a big house behind three overgrown pine trees. It took the volunteers a few minutes to find the front door. All the curtains were drawn. It looked like nobody was home. Suddenly the door swung open, and a thin man with a shock of white hair said, "My name’s Tarnower.
What do you want?" They said, "We’re from the church. We stopped by to see you." He invited them in. They explained why they had come.
In a few minutes, he was shaking a bony finger at them. "I’ll tell you why I don’t go to church anymore. It’s because I got in the habit of reading the Sunday Times before I went to the worship service."
Esther leaned forward. "Tell us," she said warmly, "how did the newspaper keep you from coming to church? Did you get caught up in the sports section and lose track of time? Or the comics?"
Mr. Tarnower looked at her with wild eyes. "No," he said, "I read the news. It’s an awful world out there. There are a lot of diseases I don’t understand. Wars break out. Families fall apart. Children run through the streets with handguns. People die prematurely. Listen, the world is falling apart, and the church can’t do a thing about it."
"Well," Jack said, "you ought to come back. We have a nice minister, a fairly good choir, and a Bible study on Wednesday nights. You might enjoy our program."
"No," Mr. Tarnower said, "I don’t think so. I get out for groceries, but that’s all I want to face. I went to church for a while, but the world got worse. When my wife died, I decided to sit in here, watch everything fall apart, and wait my turn. I don’t go to church anymore. The church has nothing to say."