That’s right. Today marks the beginning of the new church year. For you liturgy geeks, this is Year C in the Revised Common Lectionary cycle, which means we will be hearing a lot from the gospel according to Luke over the next 12 months.
But the gospel passage assigned for the first Sunday in Advent, this first Sunday in the new church year, does not come from the beginning of Luke. It comes from near the end, as Jesus is preparing his disciples for the time when he will no longer be with them in the flesh. Jesus has come to Jerusalem for one purpose only: to give his life for the redemption of us all. His earthly ministry is nearing its completion, and he knows it.
So see if this gospel reading sounds a little familiar, like something you’ve heard from Mark and John over the past couple of weeks:
There’s nothing quite like baptizing a baby to bring us hope. Thank you, Leah and Sean, for reminding us of the sure and certain hope we claim as followers of Jesus! But hope can be fleeting, and sometimes it seems like the tiniest challenge can shatter our hope.
The church in Thessolonica was facing a challenge like that. They had questions. When was Jesus going to come back? Had they missed it? Were they ‘left behind’ and putting their faith in something that wasn’t really true? Continue reading →
We jump back into the gospel according to Mark today. This is the final chapter in the year of Mark – all that’s left is the passion story, which we heard during Lent. This is the final ‘regular’ Sunday in the church year – next week is Christ the King, and then Advent begins. Advent is always a two-fold expectation of Christ’s arrival. It’s no coincidence that we are getting ready to look forward to Jesus’ birth, just as Jesus is telling us to get ready for his coming again.
But right now, the story takes us from the temple, across the valley to the Mount of Olives. Continue reading →