‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away’ 

(Mark 13: 31)

Mark 13 is a problematical chapter. Jesus spoke to his friends about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, false Messiahs, wars and rumours of wars, his followers being handed over to councils and, eventually, the Son of Man coming with power and glory. Those listening may well have felt alarmed. What Jesus was describing was the end of the world as they knew it, leading to the start of a very different world

I am writing this at the close of a confusing and ultimately tragic week. Brexit votes and confusion have dominated headlines in Britain, but today’s lead story is the terrorist attack on a mosque in New Zealand. Away from the headlines many other people will be trying to cope with changes that rock their lives and those of their families. What do Jesus’ words say at the end of such a week?

Heaven and earth have not passed away, but Jesus’ words still stand true and trustworthy and awaiting our response. He tells us that he loves us and those very different from us no less. He tells us that God forgives us, and we must be ready to forgive and understand others too. He tells us that God’s kingdom is at hand in the world we know.

Amid all that is dismaying, frightening and bewildering in the world, we must take Jesus’ words to heart and respond to them. As individuals and in our churches we must offer our response and trust him to use our love and service to make a difference for good in the world in ways that we often cannot measure. After all, that is what happened shortly after Jesus had spoken to his friends of heaven and earth passing away. He went to the cross – and his love there opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

Rev Patrick Taylor


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