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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent 1: From Thanksgiving to Resistance


11/27




Today we travel form from Thanksgiving to Resistance

it’s the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  And the beginning of Advent. The seasonal urban forest has sprung forth again and the tree sellers are back from Quebec.  We usually go straight from Christ the King to Advent but I wanted to pause a moment think about Thanksgiving before we move into Advent. 

Walter Breuggeman says that resistance begins with doxology…thanksgiving…and since we have been placed in a time that calls for faithful resistance, I want to begin with thanksgiving. We celebrated as an interfaith community last Wednesday night at St.Paul &St. Andrew’s.  I got to sing with my friend rabbi Steve Blane. And I got to have Thanksgiving with my boys and sister and mom.  Lots to thankful for. My question to you…..what are you thankful for?

(Not surprisingly for most people, it begins with family….and friends…people we care about…)



I want to begin with a communication from the Micah Institute…inspired by Psalm 122…and I’ll create Peter Heltzel with this..)




Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.

What does the word Adventus in Latin means?  There are two advents discussed in Holy Scripture: The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

Liturgically, we enter the season of advent that is a season of preparation for Christmas or the Christ-Mass where we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  For the next four Sundays we prepare our hearts and communities to receive the Christ child, “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
In Psalm 122, the psalmist offers a vision of peace for the city:

Psalm 122
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

As the Psalmist prayed for Jerusalem, we are to pray for the peace of our city, New York City. 
The Prophet Jeremiah writes: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7).


Yesterday Faith Leaders, Labor Leaders & Millennial Activists stop to remember Eric Garner, Deborah Danner and victims of Police Brutality at African Burial Ground. Today we are join congregations around the city to celebrate worship services for love and justice. 

While the prophets had a message of love and light, they also had a message of justice and judgment. 

There is a second sense of the term adventus that refers to the Second Coming of Jesus. 

The “last days” often refers to the whole period between the first and the second advents (Acts 2:17, 1 Cor 10:11). The bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth of the exalted Lord (Matt 24:30, 20:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27; Rev 1:7). Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God (1 Thess 4:16). 

When we enter the realm of eschatology, reflections on the future it’s important that we don’t succumb to the temptation of Hal Lindsay, the author of the Late Great Planet Earth who said: “I might not know the day and the hour that Jesus will return, but  I do know the year and the month.” Well, Hal Lindsay was wrong as he predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1988 (Revelation 16:15). 

Scripture says that Jesus will come like a “thief in the night” (1 Thessolonians 5:2; Revelation 16:15). Nobody knows the day or the hour, but the coming God does shape our present reality. 

When we think of the Second Coming of Jesus, James Baldwin’s Fire Next Time comes  to mind where Baldwin starts with an epigram:
 “God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, the fire next time!” 

While we don’t know when Christ is coming, we do know that the parousia shapes our faith-rooted struggle for justice. Baldwin interprets this epigram at the end as a judgment on America if we do not “end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country.” 

In No Name In the Street (1972), James Baldwin sang of a song of death and resurrection: “An old world is dying, and a new one, kicking in the belly of its mother, time, announces that it is ready to be born. This birth will not be easy, and many of us are doomed to discover that we are exceedingly clumsy midwives. No matter, so long as we accept that our responsibility is to the newborn: the acceptance of responsibility contains the key to the necessarily evolving skill.

What does it mean to be midwives of the new world? 

Baldwin challenges us to work for police reform: “The white cop in the ghetto is as ignorant as he is frightened, and his entire concept of police work is to cow the natives. He is not compelled to answer to these natives for anything he does; whatever he does, he knows that he will be protected by his brothers, who will allow nothing to stain the honor of the force.” 

It is the “brotherhood” of the PBA that continues to protect Officer Pantaleo, but many officers have told us he is a bad apple and agree that he needs to leave the police force for the choke-hold death of Eric Garner. We will stay strong in this police reform struggle. 

Since Police protect the ruling elite and their economic power, Baldwin challenges us to do prophetic economic analysis. 

 “To study the economic structure of this country, to know which hands control the wealth, and to which end, seems an academic exercise – and yet it is necessary, all of it is necessary, for discipline, for knowledge, and for power” 

In the context of America’s slavery and segregation, Baldwin honestly admits: “blacks have never been free in this country, never was it intended that they should be free” 

Ain’t nobody free, till everyone is free.

We are committed to stay in this struggle until every Black life in America is free at last.

Thank God Almighty  

We’re free at last. 

Traditionally the four weeks of Advent are  Hope. Peace. Love. And Joy.
Today…we consider hope….
Hope comes from the prophet:
He shall judge between the nations, 
          and shall arbitrate for many peoples; 
     they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
          and their spears into pruning hooks; 
     nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
          neither shall they learn war any more.

That peaceable kingdom we spoke of before is back again. And the passage about not learning war anymore that we sang about…I was always struck by the Soviet Union's gift to the United Nations, from a communist country, a statue based on a Biblical quote"Let Us Beat Swords into Ploughshares", by the Soviet sculptor, Evgeniy Vuchetich.

"Let us beat swords into plowshares"


And across form the United nations is Ralph Bunche Park. Named for our first African American UN representative and Nobel Peace prize winner. And at the back of the park is the The Isaiah Wall and the Sharansky Steps, named for Soviet Jewry activist Natan Scharansky. The small park is clearly an expression of hope. And has frequently been the location of actions for peace and justice. 
Ralph Bunche Park and Isiah Wall

As we know, HOPE is not optimism…As Jim Wallis said, it is belief in spite of the evidence…and the courage to  work to make the evidence change   (Jim Wallis) Or in the words of DR. Martin other King, Jr., The arc of history, though long, bends towards justice..…that’s Hope…

Advent…and the gospel…pushes us to a sense of the apocalyptic…just like the weeks building up to Christ the King are also apocalyptic in anticipation.

I think we can all only handle so much apocalyptic energy. Certainly the election has pushed us that way. Advent can feel as if we’re cramming for a test. Like the annual high holy days of reflection are for our Jewish neighbors. All this getting readiness…BUT….more of that NEXT week…

Our challenge is to focus on daily living….how we live every day…

The Gospel…is possibly confusing…all this thief in the night business…and it sounds vaguely like a call for retributive justice…the message to Jesus’ people was that the hell we are living in now will end. 

Who are we in the parable? I think the owner is the occupying power..

Life is fragile…we need to take care…there are frightening reports from Standing Rock…the treatment of the protesters/protectors  …barely making the news…so keep paying attention….

Three days of action


And this week, there have been three days of action…jointly sponsored by the Justice League and MICAH Institute working together…First “Black Friday” disruptions and die-ins in Macy’s, Sax and other iconic homes of capitalist commerce…yesterday there were  marches and vigils and the reading of names…victims of police.violence…

The plea for justice for Eric Garner continues…the time is ripe…for action, for change…. 
a plea for justice

We are preparing  not so much for a cataclysmic event but for ongoing life in community prepared to resist whatever may come our way…

We are getting ready….Getting ready for Christmas DAY

                                                      Getting Ready for Christmas Day

                                                               ****

During our prayers, Russ lifted up the life and witness of Fidel Castro. I recalled my personal connection, having dressed as him for the 1959 Halloween parade complete with a black yarn beard. Whatever else, he remained faithful and steadfast to a vision. 

We sang Down by the Riverside….and the first version Barbara Lundblad’s rewriting of O Come Immanuel…

O come, O come, Immanuel
And bless each place your people dwell.
Melt ev’ry weapon crafted for war,
Bring peace upon the earth forever more.
Rejoice, rejoice! Take heart and do not fear,
God’s chosen one, Immanuel, draws near.

and ended with Soon and Very Soon…

Advent table


                                                                        ****


First Reading Isaiah 2:1-5

1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2   In days to come 
          the mountain of the Lord’s house 
     shall be established as the highest of the mountains, 
          and shall be raised above the hills; 
     all the nations shall stream to it. 
3        Many peoples shall come and say, 
     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, 
          to the house of the God of Jacob; 
     that he may teach us his ways 
          and that we may walk in his paths.” 
     For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, 
          and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 
4   He shall judge between the nations, 
          and shall arbitrate for many peoples; 
     they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
          and their spears into pruning hooks; 
     nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
          neither shall they learn war any more.

5   O house of Jacob, 
          come, let us walk 
          in the light of the LORD!

Psalm 122:1-9

1   I was glad when they said to me, 
          “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” 
2   Our feet are standing 
          within your gates, O Jerusalem.

3   Jerusalem — built as a city 
          that is bound firmly together. 
4   To it the tribes go up, 
          the tribes of the LORD, 
     as was decreed for Israel, 
          to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 
5   For there the thrones for judgment were set up, 
          the thrones of the house of David.

6   Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 
          “May they prosper who love you. 
7   Peace be within your walls, 
          and security within your towers.” 
8   For the sake of my relatives and friends 
          I will say, “Peace be within you.” 
9   For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, 
          I will seek your good.

Second Reading Romans 13:11-14

11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Gospel Matthew 24:36-44


36“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, or the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christ the King: Someone to follow?

11/20/16






OK …two from the Internet: 

A picture of Michelle Obama holding a  sign that says : “An immigrant is taking my job”
The other a story saying the the Queen of England was  willing to take us back again. She says Your 240 year experiment  at Self Rule seemed like a good idea, but appears to not have turned out so well. We are willing to reassume responsibility. Only to will be direct by one of our children you like so well, no troublesome parliament in between. (Although a friend  pointed out that Great Britain’s had their issues with elections as well lately)

Today is Christ  the King Sunday. (I guess we don’t need to say Reign of Christ  Sunday anymore now that Donald Trump has been elected President.) By metaphor, this is the crowning of the year, the end of the church year.We are celebrating the ultimate dominion of Christ over all creation. Which sounds like a pretty good idea. 

The question for us is, who’s in charge? Or another question….remembering last week’s  quote from Catherine Feeny:
Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow

Do we have someone to follow? 
We have Interesting scriptures today…

Jeremiah gives us a warning…and a promise..
warning: 

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! ( SO a word to incoming government Don’t send innocent immigrant children back to where they never have been before…)

And then the Promise:

he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness.”

What are the key words? 
Wisely,… justice …. righteousness ..… safety.
Sounds like good qualities in a ruler..

As to Colossians: leaving aside theology…we have another prayer of promise…
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Do we have someone to follow? If Christ  is our King, what kind of king? AS if out of time, we have a holy week story in the midst of flourishing Christmas decorations..the story of the crucifixion of Jesus…

what do we see in this story?
bullying
mocking
political arrest
incarceration
violence
execution
religious authorities in league with the empire
and the refusal of good people to stand up..

How does this king respond? with  forgiveness….ready to welcome the condemned man beside him after that one’s  affirmation…

Today, when before our prayers we sing Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom s, we identify with that criminal..

What will we be called to? It isn’t clear yet. But we should Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And the Confessing church. Like them ,we are called to obey only Christ as ultimate authority. 

We are called to start figuring  out what we are called to be and do.
In a coming book world where a cartoon villain has been elected mayor of Gotham, We ALL are batman..we don’t need heroes or leaders, we only need each other. 

Thank you Leila

Something special from Pat for the table












First Reading Jeremiah 23:1-6

1Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. 3Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the LORD.

5The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness."


Second Reading Colossians 1:11-20

11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel Luke 23:33-43

33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."


39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On the Sunday after.....


11/16



We gathered slowly, as if slowly awakening too a new reality. We open with Tutu’s words, more 
meaningful than ever now…

Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us. 
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us.




Our first hymn was “Today we all are called to be disciples of   the Lord…”  


and following threading of the Gospel, we shared this song by Leonard Cohen: 



The world we are in this Sunday is a very different world than we were in last Sunday and is a place none of us imagined we would be in. If you are like me, you are still somewhat in a state of shock, of disbelief.  I’ve been struggling all week to come up with the right words to share with our community. 

Tuesday night, I kept waiting for the tide to turn, it never did. At 1:30 AM, I watched an episode of “Gotham”, a Batman origins series. The Penguin had somehow managed to get elected mayor of Gotham City. I realized that we were like Gotham City with no Batman around to save us. My friend pastor Heidi said that she felt like she did when she watched the towers come down, like something horrible was  happening and that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. My son Dan said that this was the most historic thing that had happened in his lifetime. I said that he had been alive for 9/11. And he said that this felt worse. And I understand that. I do feel that our country will never be the same.  Something about our very core has been called into question. Or brought to light. Something that goes to the core of our identity as a people. It’s that serious. 

There has been an unceasing outpouring of analysis and lamentation and exhortation on every media and especially social media. That is understandable.There is a deep felt need to try and make sense of this, it’s a coping mechanism. It’s why I’ve held back for awhile. Trying to feel where i need to be. There’s been outpourings of people into the streets …today I joined them…but there is no achievable demand we make …it’s only an expression of our anger, our fears, our commitment…but…

There are voices calling on us to “come together”…to “reconcile…” Not so fast. 

First, allow yourselves to grieve and mourn awhile. Let yourselves feel that. You don’t need to “move on..” or “get over it…”.….Not yet. Secretary Clinton and President Obama are saying all the right things, acting as if this were simply a transfer of governance, a transition. But there is a danger here of normalizing this process.  But this is not normal. Not in any way. Not at all

Michael Moore has daily 5 point to do lists…they are helpful but…

Draw close to people you care about and let them know you love them. That’s first.

We need to be in prayers of compassion and solidarity as well…
Politics aside, I feel deeply for Hillary Clinton…I’m sure that she went to bed Monday night fully believing that she would be President and calling Mr. Trump must have been the most difficult thing she’d ever done. 
And for President Obama, at the peak of his approval ratings, ready to leave a lasting legacy, To see it all called onto question if not outright rejected..
And I pray for my generation of women…my sisters…the ones who go back to the coat hangar abortion days…who fought for  choice…the ill fated Equal Rights Amendment…who accompanied women through gauntlets of Project Rescue militants …they saw in Hillary an affirmation of their lives and embodiment of their struggle, they saw Hillary’s presumptive presidency as breaking the glass ceiling, as a sign as significant as Obama’s election.Their sense of betrayal is personal and profound. I understood their support of Hillary in a way my boys never could.
And we must pray for all those who feel threatened and vulnerable, left insecure by this outcome…for immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ persons…and given some of what has been unleashed, their fears are real…

Scriptures have an uncanny way of intersecting with our lives…Luke 21: 5-19 has the apocalyptic vision of the destruction of the  temple…perhaps a symbol as vital to that people as the presidency  is to us….I have a feeling that politics as we have  known them are over…the republican party has gone to where it has been headed and a venerable Democratic party has found its days over…

….the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down….

As Michael Moore put it, Donald Trump is a human Molotov cocktail…inspired by conversations overheard in a homeless encampment, my friend Catherine Feeney wrote these words on her  post-Occupy “America” album..

I  wanna make some loud noises 
Set something off 
Light it on fire and then 
Watch it blow up 

I am the whistle before the explosion 
I am the heat that makes powder expand 
Some days I wake up lucky 
Today I am the queen of the damned 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow 

I wanna make some loud noises 
Piss someone off 
Get a fight going and then 
Watch it blow up 
Make it blow up 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow

I’m not sure whether that represents Trump voters or how I feel right now…



Luke is very aware of what the consequences are of faithfulness in such times:



12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

We have NO idea what the days ahead of us may require..Luke’s  description of “betrayal” truly touches me…it is common…familiar…we’ve been there..remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee hearings? Or the Harvard Secret Court of 1920 where friend and family turned against each other  in the homosexual trials ? Or the German Democratic Republic  where perhaps a half million or more  turned  informers?…..or what happens to Palestinian prisoners today?

and will lose your lives…

By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Thankfully, Isaiah  gives us a vision of an new creation….IF I have HOPE at all, it is  that a new creation will emerge…

Here is the Vision: The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

It’s an image that hat has been special for my Quaker relatives. Their meeting house has the peaceable Kingdom Paintings by Hicks on the walls. It’s an image that comports me. 

Speaking ONLY of the CHURCH…I believe that we are called to be a community of resistance. 
WE are now called to define what Cornell West calls REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANS…a visible counter-cultural community…

And we must be absolutely committed to MAKING SAFE ALL WHO FEEL VULNERABLE. We also need to grow in understanding of the  forgotten people who supported Trump…like those from my my hometown…former mill towns and factory towns and mimic communities…left beside the road and treated with condescension by the liberal elite…
But we must never compromise with the other supporters, the voices of hatred and rejection…of misogyny, xenophobia, islamophobia, racism..

We need to engage in local projects…last Friday, Pastor Heidi and I met with the National Mobilization Against Sweat Shops  people…a new campaign is rising  to end wage theft through a Secure Wages Earned Against Theft bill…sin this campaign we walk shoulder to shoulder with those who have been made to feel threatened, the most vulnerable among us…the undocumented immigrants from Mexico, China, West Africa…

And friends, this is just the beginning…

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

We shared our reflections with one another. Russ sees us at a new day needing a new prophetic way too be church. Pat is still in shock and disbelief. Leila surprised that we were surprised given the fear we had expressed last week. It is good to be together.

Our final hymn was “ O Day of Peace”:


Then we held  hands .Prayed. Sang Amen. And went back into the world…




Thank you Leila....



                                Oh...and Russ reminded us,"Now we must be Batman..."


                                                                     ****




First Reading Isaiah 65:17-25

17For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-and their descendants as well. 24Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.


Gospel Luke 21:5-19

5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6"As for these things that you see,
7They asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?" 8And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is near!' Do not go after them.

9"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." 10Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.


12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.