Where we look means everything
Two readings for this Sunday, Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19, offer so much as we approach the end of this very strange year.
Bishop Helen-Ann writes “For both Hebrew prophets and Greek historians, wicked leaders guide a nation to destruction. After weeping over Jerusalem (19.41-44), and after having prophesied in the parable of the wicked tenants that the scribes and chief priests would kill him (20.14-18), Jesus denounces the scribes (20.45-47). He then prophesies the future consequences for the temple (21.5-9), the disciples (vv. 12-19), and the city of Jerusalem (vv. 20-24); he also pictures the coming of redemption, the Son of Humanity (vv. 25-36). It is important to see this passage in the light of all the sections mentioned above. As we approach Advent, words of apocalyptic future terror predominate. Yet such words are not to alarm rather to inspire. Indeed Jesus says in v. 9 ‘do not be terrified.’”
This passage is part of Jesus last words in Luke – the end is near. And we are told to not be distracted. Not to be distracted by ostentatious displays of wealth and might – even when they are dedicated to God; nor by ongoing historical events, no matter how traumatic; nor by threats of our own doom. These are all distractions because where we look is where we put our energy and it shapes the direction of our lives. Where we look means everything. And Jesus was not and is not interested in people putting energy into these things. They are distractions. Instead we are to look to the coming reign of God so beautifully described in Isaiah. Look there and Luke will have done his job, and we will be ready for Advent.