December 1, 2017.  With First Advent, we begin our season of waiting and watching for the birth of Jesus. As is so often true, our Gospel reading picks up in the middle of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. They have been touring the Temple in Jerusalem, and the disciples are in awe of its beautiful majesty. As they all step out onto the Portico of Solomon – built by Jesus’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather – Jesus tells them that this Temple will be thrown down in this generation. “Truly I tell you,” he says, “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” Naturally, the disciples have questions: it’s Jesus’s answers we hear in the Gospel reading. At least two or three of the disciples who were with him that day most likely lived to see Jesus’s prophecy of the destruction of the Temple come true. But the Gospel sounds eerie and threatening without context.

Beginning in the late 1800s, some writers and evangelists took this scripture and its apocalyptic visions and interpreted ‘this generation’ as referring to a date in their own generation, clearly ignoring the meaning of the passage. No doubt some in Jesus’s generation did experience the ‘end times.’ All three Gospels include some version of this story; Matthew and Luke wrote their books toward the end of the first century, so it’s likely they saw the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. and the chaos and horror that followed.

The most important part of all this for us is not to concern ourselves about the accuracy of the biblical prophecy, but to concern ourselves with Jesus’s message:  “Keep awake.” Since this is a Kids’ Sunday, we’ll discuss how we wait, and pick up on the words in the opening collect that ask us to put on an armor of light. We’ll talk together about how to put on an armor of light and what does it look like. Will we glow like light sabers?

Put December 17th on your calendar for three important events at our single 10:30am service. Bishop Marc Andrus will be visiting (see more below); we will have a confirmation; and we hope to present the Christmas Pageant to him. If you’d like to have your youth in the pageant, please let Kelly Madden know right away. Thanks so much!