The differences between the Gospel lections for Proper 28 and Advent 1 are almost too small to be worth discussing. As we move from Year B to Year C, so too we move from Mark/John to Luke for our Gospel texts the next 52 Sundays. Each Gospel has its own theological bend to it: Mark’s Messianic Secret, John’s cosmic christology, and Luke’s orderly account, but really, as we look at the differences between Mark’s Little Apocalypse and Jesus’ apocalyptic teaching in Luke, one has to wonder how these lessons ought to preach, just two weeks apart from one another.
Of course, ask TKT mentioned in his sermon yesterday, every time we enter these texts we find ourselves at a different point on the journey. What comes immediately to mind to me as I prepare another apocalyptic sermon are just a few facts: 1) we’re two weeks closer to the end of the Mayan calendar, 2) we’re two weeks closer to our elected leadership acting like “spoiled children” as America tumbles over the fiscal cliff, 3) Israel and Hamas have entered into yet another peace agreement, 4) the Sudanese government, fresh off a supposedly foiled coup attempt, continues to pummel their own people with bombs, 5) Black Friday started at 8pm on Thanksgiving Thursday, and 6) Gang Nam Style has surpassed the great Justin Bieber as the most watched YouTube video of all time.
Maybe the world really is coming to an end.
Then again, in Luke’s account, Jesus says that “this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.” That generation has most assuredly passed away by now. Maybe the world is always coming to an end. Maybe God is constantly invoking the apocalypse, literally unveiling, his kingdom. Maybe the faithful response to all of these signs isn’t to stock up for the great final battle or to close our eyes and wait to be raptured. Maybe we are to take our place in the building up of the kingdom. Right here. Right now.