We must quietly and patiently lean on Him and He will provide

11-13-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

It is often better or easier to simply go along with the flow in life, in fact, often times, many things simply do not matter in the long run. We often take stands or push back over ultimately inconsequential things that in a few days or weeks we will not even remember. However, sometimes we need to stand and act on our values. This weekend’s scripture is a reflection on how Jesus thinks about his disciples and how they will go on--on their own, but in his presence.

The first passage is from an anonymous person. The word malachi means in English “my messenger”. This anonymous person is disturbed by the weak practices and the fairly liberal interpretation of worship and law that was the practice and pattern in Israel after the exile. This book was written shortly before the reforms of the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah. This book, although a book of complaints in a way, looks for the time when God will appear as a healing, warming, and bright sun of justice.

In Paul’s reading, this weekend, we are told not to sit around waiting for this special day of justice. This concept that the Son of God will be coming very shortly was quite strong in the earliest days of Christianity. As a result, some people simply want to sit and wait. Paul is telling the Thessalonians to be engaged in quiet, yet fruitful work.

The reading today from the Gospel writer Luke, directly addresses the problem of the end time and its relationship to the present time. Those who were part of Luke’s listeners also anticipated the imminent return of Christ. Luke’s Gospel was written approximately 30 years after Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians. Because this Gospel was finally written almost 50 years after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, it has a much more sober and level understanding of the end times. Note that Matthew and Mark in their Gospels connect the destruction of the Temple with the end times, Luke does not.

In today’s passage, we learn that the apostles speak of the Temple in all its glory, but Jesus talks of other matters. Jesus does not see war, famine or natural disasters as a sign of the end times. This is contrary to the other authors, Jesus admits that the temple can come tumbling down and that all sorts of terrible things can occur, but Jesus says that there are bigger things than these. He says his followers can be badly treated or betrayed, their lives may be stretched beyond breaking point. Jesus, however, tells them that by patient endurance they will save their own lives. He tells them that their salvation is totally dependent upon His presence with them.

We must come to understand when our lives are falling apart or badly shaken, our help is in the Lord. We must quietly and patiently lean on Him and He will provide.