Sunday 29 November 2020.
Mark 13: 24-37
Reflection by Andrew
From the fig tree learn its lesson. Jesus is saying: read the signs of the times. I wonder what signs of the times are we being asked to read this year, a year most of us won’t be sorry to leave behind? What signs of the times do we read in the behaviour of the powerful? When we see powerful people reluctant to let go of power no matter what and twisting the truth in order to cling on to power for power’s sake – how does that measure up against the Christ who comes among us in poverty, who empties himself of power and takes the form of a slave?
More positively, in this year of Covid, what good signs have we seen in our midst? There’s been so much love and compassion shown by so many people. We’re more aware than ever how much we depend on each other. From doctors and nurses working night and day to care for people, to scientists and researchers working in laboratories to find a cure – people we seldom think about usually – to those thousands upon thousands of hidden others whom we now realise we depend on: lorry drivers delivering all the things we need, supermarket workers and so many people who serve in ways that are often unrecognised and almost always poorly rewarded.
All these signs of the times and of this particular time we’re living through should make us do exactly what Jesus asks us to, namely to stay alert. After this year when we’ve seen certainly the best and sometimes the worst that human beings can do, we’re challenged to not forget what we’ve seen and experienced. The easiest thing in the world would e for us to simply go back to how things were. It seems like it’s all to easy for the powerful to take control with little or no accountability – the Caesars and Herods of our own time are all too real. And we could easily forget the people we’re now realising are more important than we ever knew. But Jesus asks us to stay alert. There’s a kingdom to work for, of which Christians in ever generation are almost like secret agents behind enemy lines. We’re here to represent the coming King, who will turn out to be a King like no other. He’s the kind of king who will see the unseen, reward the unrewarded and give notice to the abusers of power that their time is up.
It’s no wonder the Herods of this world start to tremble. As Mary will exult very soon: He hath put down the mighty from their heat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. Read the signs of the times and stay alert: He’s coming. Amen.