11-14 Reflection

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

November is certainly a month to remember.  At the highest level, we recall all those who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.”  At a lower level, we have the memories of the past summer.

As always, the ongoing battle of the optimists versus the pessimists goes on.  Right away, certain pessimists seem to have an edge.  All he or she has to do is start the complaints about November weather. The earlier sunsets and the dipping temperatures are right up his alley. He finds pal even in the poet Emily Dickinson, who wrote that “November always seems to me the Norway of the year.”

But then the optimist has his scorecard filled with the fact that November is a holiday month, without the hurried rush when you get to spend time with family and friends and celebrate Thanksgiving joyfully. There is at least one poet in their corner by the name of Alexander Louis Fraser: “Fear not November’s challenge bold– We’ve books and friends, and hearths that never can grow cold, these are how we make amends!”

All of this comparison and contrast sets up a reflective look at the Scripture for this weekend. The Gospel features Our Lord giving His predictions about the “end times,” a frightful time ahead. But He does it in the name of full disclosure, lest we doubt God has a plan.

But immediately after that dark note, Jesus follows up with the promise that His angels will gather up “His elect.”  Our task, then, is to be among that number.  Easy enough to decide but hard to meet the requirements.  The excerpt from Daniel hits the optimism button with this promise that we are destined “to live forever shining like the splendor of the firmament.”

All of that is guaranteed by Christ’s offering on the cross, which the Letter to the Hebrews assures us it is true because by that cross He has “made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.”  Since we were consecrated as God’s children at our baptism, the gift is ours to lose.  So optimism takes the prize

It is a good November thing to remember, because just as the year winds down, inevitably so will we.  Take a second look in the mirror. The November scriptures want us to stop pretending to ourselves. Obviously, a lot depends on our faith and its consequent outlook.

Somebody has well said that there are really only two kinds of people in the world:  those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good Lord, it’s morning.”  Which are you?

God love you, and give you His peace.

Reading I:  Daniel 12: 1-3
Those whose names are written in the book of life will live forever in light and joy.

Reading II:  Hebrews 10: 11-14, 18
Jesus our great High Priest, sits now in heavenly glory and waits until His enemies are under His feet.

The Gospel:  Mark 13: 24-32
The key event is Jesus’ return, the final proof of God’s victory over evil.  The fig tree’s growth process acts as a warning sign that the event is near.