Friday, July 20th. Mark 13:32-37

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”  Mark 13:32-37

 

Today we come to the end of Mark’s “mini-apocalypse.”  The purpose behind apocalyptic poetry is to bring encouragement to the oppressed and fearful.  But once again I am reminded that there are, always have been, and always will be, groups within Christianity who ground their understanding and practice of the faith on weaving this particular strand of biblical literature into a kind of Ouiji board secret code for deciphering current events.

 

This is a harmless distraction for most of us but can be devastating to those who are vulnerable to the manipulation of charlatans.  People like David Koresh and Jim Jones might be remembered as seriously deranged, but we need to be mindful of the ways that they twisted and perverted the faith in leading their followers to tragic ends.

 

Television personalities like Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, and even John Hagee, have millions of followers who support them financially and prayerfully.  Their teaching uses fear and conspiracy theorizing in peddling a thin veneer of hate and division as they cast themselves as the beleagured “in the know” crowd.

 

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins made millions upon millions of dollars with their fictional “Left Behind” series.  I remember well when that first novel came out in 1995.  I had several people come to me, seriously troubled and fear-ridden, even obsessed, with those books.  To be fair, the first novel was gripping…as fictional literature.  But that was not how it was presented to the public.  It was clearly marketed as “a preview of coming attractions.”  And once again, rather than leading people to real faith, it inoculated far too many against it.  But LaHaye and Jenkins got to keep the money or use it to underwrite even more fearmongering .

 

I find myself writing these words and I know they are going to hit home with many people, probably on all sides of the spectrum.  There are those who will forward this devotion to their well-meaning but kooky religious relatives who have been driving them crazy for years.  Others will attack me because I named names.  That isn’t polite.  I’m being judgmental.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.

 

Guilty on all counts.  I’m not being polite this morning.  I am casting a negative judgment against religious leaders who cherry pick Bible verses and use them to manipulate people with fear and hate.  And yes, I don’t know what I’m talking about.  On that I stand in good company as Mark tells us – “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

 

I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future.  And I know that, far from staying awake, I far too often fall asleep at the wheel.  But God isn’t through with me or any of us yet.  And I think the commandment to love God and our neighbor is more than enough to keep us busy for the rest of our lives without selling the farm to wait for Jesus on a hill.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, the world uses fear to intimidate and control, but you use love to create and transform.  While we worry about the end, you love us from the beginning.  Bring fresh insight and healing to those who have been hurt along the way, even by well meaning voices.  Use us as you will, always to your glory, and to the welfare of all people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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11 Responses to “Friday, July 20th. Mark 13:32-37”

  1. Tom Skonie Says:

    I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future
    GREAT !!!!!! Thanks

  2. Claude Proctor Says:

    Pastor Kerry, give ’em heaven!

  3. Tina Says:

    Amen, and Amen again!!!

  4. Marilyn Pickard Says:

    i TOTALLY AGREE with you Thanks for waying it. mp

  5. Liz Says:

    Thank you Pastor Kerry, I so totally agree. None of us knows anything about the day or time of Christ’s return, but instead of pointing fingers and making accusations we should be loving each other as Christ commanded us.

  6. Linda Says:

    Amen! Thank you for your total honesty!

  7. Kerry, Allie, Jonathan and Steve Says:

    God. I LOVE your honesty. Don’t wanna offend the PC police, do we.

    Thanks be to God.

  8. Richard Says:

    One of your best ever, Kerry! I am with Tom Skonie, “I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future.” Said it PERFECTLY!

  9. Pam Blaesing Says:

    AMEN!!

  10. Charlotte Says:

    Very informative. Thank you for teaching the truth and for you honesty.

  11. William Decker Says:

    Certainly there are those who misuse the Scriptures and faith as they interpret passages such as Mark 13. And instead of helping the oppressed and fearful find confidence in Christ, they often end up merely causing further pain and fear among followers of Christ and others. But Mark 13 and other passages that are part of the “apocalyptic” literature of the Bible have another purpose as well: to keep us ready, to keep us alert, to keep us active in our discipleship. to keep us from falling asleep in our faith. None of us do know the “end,” but because there will be an “end.” apocalyptic literature encourages us to keep pressing on so that all may know the eternal love and assurance given to us in Jesus Christ.

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