by Liz Young
(Based on Mark 13:1-8)
What would you do if you knew that Jesus was returning at midnight tonight? How would you spend the next fifteen hours? Praying, asking for forgiveness for all the things you’ve put off doing?
What if you knew he would return a week from today? How would you prioritise doing all those things you haven’t got around to doing? What matters most?
The disciples were occupied with when will Jesus return. Jesus doesn’t respond to their question ‘when?’, but warns them and encourages them with three instructions:
- Don’t be deceived! Follow Jesus’s teachings.
The implication that the disciples may follow false leaders reminds me that the early Christians did split into so many different sects – that by the time Mohammed arrived he felt he had to create a new true interpretation – without the certainty we have of the help of our belief in Jesus, and the help of the Holy Spirit, to live as he advised us.
- Take heed to yourselves. Don’t worry about the things happening around you. It’s enough to love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and strength; and to love our neighbour as ourself.
- Be alert! Don’t get distracted. Oh how easy it is to be distracted by material things, comfort food, escapist books or whatever else takes your fancy.
I find that I get distracted more easily each year I get older: so my first action after I get up is to have my quiet time, and after my reflections I write my plan for the day. I usually follow the prayer plan I was taught in my youth: praise, thanksgiving, ask for forgiveness, intercessions and ask for help in planning and putting into practice my plans for the day. (Which always include two hours of gardening.) But some of that gets hurried by my need for breakfast!
I’ve always felt that the kingdom of God is all around us. Jesus is with us now in our daily lives. How often do we make ourselves aware of him? Ask for his help in our daily decision making and actions and difficulties.
I tend to think quickly, and speak and act without thinking. Pray that we can ask for his help, moment to moment of each day. To be alert to each other’s needs, listen and look for the unspoken words in body language.
Take this simple message home this week. I hope that its brevity will help the message stick. In the Name of God the Father, his Son, and the Holy Spirit.