I can’t say that reading the scripture text for this week is a reassuring exercise. There appears to be nothing in it that will calm anxiety. It’s unsettling enough that Jesus says that the temple, known far and wide for its beauty, will be no more. But then he goes on to say that some will come in his name, but the disciples are not to be led astray or go after these false prophets. And when they hear of wars and insurrections, they are not to be terrified, for these must happen first. Oh, and the end will come, but not immediately. First, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes, famines, plagues, dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
Wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues–those are all pretty terrifying. But then, Jesus says that they will be arrested and persecuted; they will be handed over to synagogues and prisons and brought before kings and governors because of Jesus. They will even be betrayed by parents and siblings, by relatives and friends, and some will even be put to death. They will be hated by all because of Jesus’ name.
- Luke 21:5 - 19