From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. -Mark 13:28-31
Jesus urges his disciples to learn the lesson of the fig tree; he wants them to be as adept at discerning the signs of the coming of the kingdom of God, of the son incarnate amongst us, as they are at predicting summer in the fig tree’s spring blossoms.
Upon reading this passage I can’t help but think of this year’s “Arab spring” and wonder how adept we’ve become at reading the signs of the times. As some are occupying the symbols of US corporate greed on Wall St., I hear Jesus calling us to discern the corruption in the temple that precedes its destruction. Dare we see the coming of the kingdom in the midst of wars and earthquakes and famine? Can we dream of new worlds, communities and ways of caring for each other?
May our hearts also be occupied this advent, invaded by an irresistible hope that the messiah is indeed coming to proclaim the year of the lord’s favor knowing that heaven and earth may pass away but Christ’s words will not.
Loving God, occupy our hearts that we may occupy the world with the love and justice of your kingdom.
Michael Joseph is a long-distance member of Metro. He works with victims of violence in Colombia as a missionary of Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).