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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Is the day of the Lord already here? Or is it just the election?

11/6









We had a great day on Halloween. Warm and beautiful. Leila and Pat made great  decorations. there was Marsha, another Bible Study…I enjoyed the night…only when I went to bed did I begin to feel the cold chill of dread that the next day I would start seeing holiday decorations in stores. Dunkin Donuts has their candy cane crunch donuts out already. I feel the grains of sand of another year running out and it makes me feel sad, at least…look, .I desperately need November. I want to say  Don’t be in such a rush…

I took a long walk yesterday. ..through Central Park…the beautiful colors of the leaves..people skating on Lasker Rink…and people picnicking on the grass…

Why mention all of these things? Because whatever else is going on, life is going on…and I need to remind myself of that before the election..

Yes, we have an election coming up…and with margins slim, there is a sense of “upheaval, anxiety and fear.” (this is what was said about the context of texts…by Jill Duffield) Fear, anxiety, apocalyptic talk, questions of power and glory, uncertain outcomes - Does that sound like our national mood? Actually it’s Jill Duffield describing the test of the week…all these things pervade the readings for this week. 

I’ve had a sense of the apocalyptic ever since the conventions…like nothing I’d ever seen before…

I started singing  “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” as part of my shows …and church….and “Mercy Now” by Marty Gauthier…
My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over it won't be long, he won't be around
I love my father, he could use some mercy now

My brother could use a little mercy now
He's a stranger to freedom, he's shackled to his fear and his doubt
The pain that he lives in it's almost more than living will allow
I love my bother, he could use some mercy now

My church and my country could use a little mercy now
As they sink into a poisoned pit it's going to take forever to climb out
They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down
I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now

Every living thing could use a little mercy now
Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud
People in power, they'll do anything to keep their crown
I love life and life itself could use some mercy now

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it but we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance dangle 'tween hell and hallowed ground
And every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
….



So much in that song seems so apt…I kept feeling like I had to  sound an alarm….

so let’s take a look at these texts..


Haggai asks Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing?  The people have returned from exile, found their temple in ruinsover the last several years, when we’ve had this passage, it felt like it referred to  our church building (or church?) But when we look around now, so much of the building has been restored, there has been so much…progress…but the  what has happened to the  church

But this year we look outside the church…what do you see? A situation that seems more dire than any I’ve remembered…it's easy to forget all that has been bettered the last 8 years…(and also that many of these could be reversed by a stroke of a pen…)

The prophet’s word is clear…we are to “take courage”..”I am with you…my spirit abides among you….do not fear….

Thessalonians comes from another anxious  time… a time of imperial oppression…hear these words again…

1As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

Uh….there’s a description there I’m tempted to comment on, but won’t…I have to remind myself that for many voters, Hillary may seem like the "lawless one..” the feelings were so passionate..Paul cautions his people not top believe that the day of the Lord is here already…
 we are not to be shaken or alarmed…

So how down? What are you feeling? 

These are profoundly important decisions before us which will have consequences…
But no matter what happens, the leaves will still be around awhile  longer, Thanksgiving will come and then Christmas, skaters will circle Lasker as the world spins and regardless of the result, we have work to do…

As people from the reformed tradition, regardless of who is in there, they will be flawed, they will not represent God’s will and we will need to call the to account…that’s what we do…

Thessalonians refers to us ….We …our community…are the first fruits of salvation…a counercultural community within the broader community….we are called to live together, work together, be together, in resistance to the power of empire and as a demonstration of the power of the risen Christ…so get out and vote Tuesday, take a deep breath…and then, back to work…there’s work to be done…

First we need to join in  prayer…our neighbor SPSA has been holding non-partisan prayer vigils every Wednesday...

So let us begin with  prayer....

                                                   ****

So we talked about how we were feeling...one of us felt that the Clintons had talked their friend Donald into running to guarantee Hillary's victory...others expressed genuine fear...seeing something arise in our country that we genuinely fear...yet others expressed the sense of overall cynicism that reflects the feelings of our children..the feelings of anxiety over uncertainty is palpable...

So we said our prayers, we shared bread and cup...and sang "Amen"


Our table





15bIn the second year of King Darius,

1in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 2Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, 3Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? 4Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the LORD; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the LORD; work, for I am with you, says the LORD of hosts, 5according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. 6For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.


Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

1As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

13But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word

Gospel Luke 20:27-38

27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her."

34Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."






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