Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sermon Cliff Note: When Great-Grandpa Steve Was a Boy*

On Luke 21.5ff and the ‘signs of the times’

On September 11, 2001, planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, and another crashed by passengers in central Pennsylvania.  It was a beautiful morning.  None of us could scarce believe our eyes.

People seemed to fall from the sky as they jumped from the towers in a vain effort to escape the fires.

I spent the day with a friend waiting to her that her loved ones, working in the Pentagon at the time, survived.  They did.

We spent the next day buying water and needed supplies to be trucked into the City by the local Red Cross.

And then we listened with shock and confusion as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson told us that this had happened to us because of gay people and feminists.

People were babbling.  Some tried to say President Bush orchestrated the whole thing.  Some blamed Iraq, even though not a single Iraqi was on board.

If I had a great-grandpa Steve, it would have reminded me of great-grandpa Steve’s telling of the Great Depression.  Men were jumping from buildings then too.  People were predicting the end of the world then too.

It’s easy to see now, looking back, how it was sure to happen – the Depression – what with so many people investing so crazily, like the stock market was some big casino.  And then there was the drought – 7 years it lasted!

Great-Grandpa Steve said he heard a man talking about it before it happened.  His name was Ludwig vonMises.  But nobody paid any attention to him.  They could have.  And if they had, it might have all been different.  But they didn’t.

There were signs for September 11, too.  But we missed them.  They seem obvious now – they always do in hindsight, don’t they?

That’s what great-grandpa Steve would say, anyhow.  And he should know.  He was there before the first time men jumped from buildings, after all.

So when they come and try to blame you, kids, don’t you worry.  ‘They’ always try to blame someone. . . they always try to say that they saw it coming all along . . . and when it happens, whatever it may be, they’ll always try to blame somebody for it . . . and the day may well come when they’ll try to blame you.

When it’s your turn to get blamed, you just hold your head up high and don’t you fall for it. . . endings always have beginnings, you know.  That’s what great-grandpa Steve said, anyhow. . . yes, there will be wars . . . and rumors about wars to come . . . and droughts . . .  and tsunamis that make it seem like God is at war with planet earth itself . . .

But there will also be men and women who rise up in the midst of all the bad news and proclaim something different . . . you be one of them.

That’s what great-grandpa Steve would tell you, anyway.

*I don't have a great-grandpa Steve - never have had.  This is all in my imagining.  It was one of three parts to today's sermon, meant to convey the futility of searching for the 'signs' (which, have you noticed, are always about gloom and doom?  Where, I ask, is the good news in that?).  The other parts are about what's going on in the biblical text and other September 11's in history.  

No comments:

Post a Comment