Faith Daily | 25 November 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - COLLECT PRAYER FOR THE WEEK BEFORE ADVENT
Stir up, we pray you, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people,
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 21: 20-28
20 ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.* 21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; 22for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfilment of all that is written. 23Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; 24they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rachel McFadyen
In the first part of today’s reading, Jesus is accurately forecasting the fate of Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in AD70, the inhabitants killed or sent into exile and slavery. Jesus had wept over the city, which would not listen to him (Luke 19:41-42), and now again foresees its destruction. The early Christians conflated this prophesy (vs 20-24) of events which would happen within their lifetimes, with Jesus’ words (vs 25-27 and earlier in Luke 21) on the coming of the Son of Man in power and glory.
Today in the church calendar we remember James Noble, the first indigenous Australian to be ordained in the Anglican church. He was a full-blood Aborigine, born near Boulia, employed as a stockman, and taken south to Scone in NSW. In Scone he was educated in the evenings, then returned to north Qld to work with the priest at Yarrabah mission. He married Angelina, a part-Aborigine woman who had been enslaved by a drover. In 1914 they went to establish Forrest River Mission in north east Western Australia: he was ordained Deacon in Perth in 1925. In 1926 he was sent to gather evidence of a massacre of indigenous people in the region. In 1932 he returned to Yarrabah where he died in 1941 (Australian Dictionary of Biography). James Noble and his wife experienced oppression, violence, and the destruction of their culture and way of life, but they were able to put hate and revenge aside as they embraced life in Christ, and worked to bring hope to the peoples of the north.
Our whole world now faces a dangerous and uncertain future, led by governments who refuse to acknowledge the urgency of the situation or to take effective action to protect the people they govern. For the oppressed in our world today, those forced to flee their homes because of fire, flood, rising sea levels, drought, excessive heat, Jesus’ message is the same: “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Jesus did not promise that all would be well, and indeed it did not go well for the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the first century AD, but then and now, he promises eternal life to all who put their trust in him. God does not promise that actions won’t have consequences in this world, nor that everything will somehow miraculously be fixed, but God’s promise of life, joy and love with Jesus is true now as it was then.
Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, you foresaw suffering for the people of Jerusalem, but they would not listen to you. Comfort us today, both those whose homes and livelihoods are being destroyed, and those who watch in despair. Strengthen our trust in your promises, and grant us your joy in our hearts even in the midst of trouble. Amen.