Reflection for Remembrance Sunday 14 November 2021

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

Mark 13: 1-8

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It would seem every Remembrance Sunday there’s a war or conflict somewhere that causes concern. This year we have less of a war, more of a consequence with the people of Afghanistan facing the most horrendous future. Add to this Covid – which is far from over – and global warming where no two nations can agree on what to do for the best. Actually, we all know what to do: to send aid to the poor and hungry, vaccines and equipment to the sick, and to stop putting profit before our precious planet. But will that ever happen? I wonder!

In that penultimate sentence above I more or less describe the coming of God’s Kingdom on Earth. This is what Jesus came to accomplish, so did He fail? Not at all! His reference to stones falling (verse 2) was a prophesy of the destruction of the temple at the hands of the Romans some 40 years later. It confirms that He is sovereign Lord, who knows all things and is in total control, which should bring peace of mind when we read on to verses 7 and 8, particularly His words, “do not be alarmed”, a phrase He repeats in various forms many times in the four gospels. We need not be alarmed, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care. As I said on All Saints Sunday, when we allow our compassion to drive us into taking action, we are doing God’s work – precisely what Jesus came to teach us.

The disciples were rightly proud of their temple, built to the glory of God by King Solomon. But St Paul calls us “temples to the living God” (1 Cor 6). Everything we think, do and say should be to the honour, praise and glory of His Holy name. We need to understand that the true glory of a church lies not in its fabric, but in the faith and godliness of its members. They say evil only succeeds when the good do nothing. There are plenty of ways we can make a difference – and our heavenly Father came in person to show us how, so do not be alarmed, keep calm and carry on “fighting the good fight”.

Revd. Geoff Eales

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