Saturday, June 23Scripture Reading—Luke 21:25-28
The gospel reading for tomorrow (Sunday) speaks about Jesus calming a fierce storm. So the assigned readings from the daily lectionary for the next few days have something to do with the theme of storms. This text from Luke 21 comes in the middle of a discourse where Luke records Jesus’ teaching in the temple and deals with the anger of the religious leaders—chief priests, scribes, and elders—the religious elite of Jesus’ day. They’re not bad people, really. Jesus was never one to beat around the bush. He was so disgusted with the temple system in Jerusalem that he predicted its destruction and Jerusalem’s downfall. In the year 70 C.E. (A.D.) these things did happen. Indeed, these events were at least as devastating as the terrible tornadoes that swept through Joplin, Missouri about a year ago. But Jesus envisions a greater crisis. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and waves.” Jesus goes on to describe the crisis that will come upon the earth whenever the Son of Man returns in all his glory. Jesus is talking about the crisis of crises. The problem is that he did not return immediately after his death. What do we make of all this? All of us will face some great crisis at some point in our lives. For some it may be a tornado or a hurricane, an earthquake, war, recession, or famine. For some the crisis may take the form of losing a job, a loved one or a relationship, or a devastating, prolonged illness. The truth is, all of us will share in one crisis—death. The only good thing about any of these crises (if it can be called good) is that on the other side of them we will find redemption. The storm will abate. Jesus told his first disciples that when they saw the signs signaling the impending crisis of his return that they should take courage because their redemption was near. None of us wants to go through any of these things, but when we do, the thing that will pull us through is the assurance that on the other side of even the worst storm is God’s gift of salvation. And unfortunately, we will go through some storms when that promise is all that will keep us going!
Thought for the day: In the midst of life’s greatest storms, we are sustained by our hope that God’s redemption lies on the other side.
Prayer: O God, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. When life seems to be more than I can handle, please help me to have the courage and faith to survive, knowing that you will bring me through safely to a place of peace, healing, and restoration. Amen.