The Holy Gospel: November 18, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 13:1-8

Meditation:  “Not So Fast”

Like the original disciples, we can be quickly and easily taken with impressive things.  The great buildings with their massive stones caught the attention of one of Jesus’ followers.  It seemed as if they would be there forever.

Jesus did not let the comment go unaddressed.  He responded immediately by exhorting the disciples not to be overly taken with “tangibles” no matter how magnificent they appear to be.  The fact is, he said, there will come a time when not one stone will be left upon another.

It does not escape our attention that arguably the greatest military general of our time fell from the heights, and did so on Veteran’s Day weekend.  The “great building” collapsed such that not one “stone” of his character and reputation is left standing.

We take no delight in this whatsoever, and there is no room for judgment or pride.  All of us have sinned; there is none righteous no not one.

But that only heightens this week’s gospel lesson.  We must not be taken with anyone’s witness or ministry.  We courteously respect the lives of our leaders (political an ecclesial) and honor the offices they hold.  But if we go beyond that, we have moved into error and we are on a collision course with disappointment.

Jesus says, “Not so fast.”  He forbids us to give primary allegiance to secondary people, places, and things.  To do so is to give ourselves to elements which are already dying.

This is serious business.  Our souls are never more in jeopardy than when our heroes become our gods.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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