[I had intended to use the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) but The Message paraphrase caught my attention first.]
“As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!” Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.” (Mark 13:1-2)
Humanity is very good at building.
And very good at tearing down.
Now, these verses are not meant to be commentaries on the rise and falls of buildings and other types of humanity-made items. The actual focus of Jesus’ teachings is on end times. That a great many things will happen before the end of all days.
“Later, as he was sitting on Mount Olives in full view of the Temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got him off by himself and asked, “Tell us, when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head?”
Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. (Verses 3-8)
And though many will say, since this has happened, the end is coming. Or, that since the world is so bad off, the end must be near. And furthermore, individuals or groups may arise that claim knowledge of what is to come, or have the knowledge and skill to save us (an important thing to remember in any election year).
Again, humanity is very good at building up, and very good at tearing down. Very good at brokering peace, and very good at starting wars. But all of these things do not mean it is the final count down to the end. Many believed that the year 2000 meant things were coming to an end; but here we are some 15 years later and the world continues to turn.
Jesus gave his disciples no firm clue or idea of how long it would be. Surely since these verses have been recorded we have had war after war, famine after famine, earthquake after earthquake; and more devastation and heartache than the human heart can handle. And yet, each day dawns, on after another.
The good thing is that the Good News and the Divine’s care of us has not ended either; that is, God is still God, and love still trumps over hatred. Even though more is to come, all is not lost. We build, and then we rebuild – in hopes that better days will come.
May you, beloved reader, hold firm to the things that last, and trust in our Lord God. Selah!