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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sunday's Reading; Advent 1, Year B (2011)

Mark 13:24-37
Jesus said to his disciples, "In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see `the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 

"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.

"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.

I don’t know much about eschatology, ....or apocalyptic speculation (other than the fact that this passage advises us not to engage in it)…but, I do know that there is a lot to watch out for, in our generation.  I also know, firsthand, with a daughter on the precipice of adulthood, that our time with our children is short.

  • Out-of-wedlock births in the United States have risen sharply, now accounting for 41% of  babies born last year.  (CDC, Atlanta 2011).   
  • Forty-three percent of US children live without their father (US Department of Census).  
  • An estimated 20.4 million people in the United States used some kind of illicit drug in the past 30 days, according to the latest government statistics.  
  • 1.2 million babies were ripped from their mothers’ wombs in 2008 (Guttmacher Institute, 2011).
  • Young people are expected, by a large segment of their peers, to engage in physical intimacy outside of the marriage covenant, and early in relationships, even when the “relationships” aren’t emotionally intimate....
There is mistletoe in our oak tree.

Can you see it there?

We’ve known it was there…for years, actually.  It’s been weighing on us, in the backs of our minds.  But, removing it is such a hassle.  And, it’s not that bad.  And the tree is so enormous, that we’ll have to get a professional to get up there, so there is expense involved.  I’m sure, given more time, I could come up with more reasons to delay addressing the situation.

Despite its reputation for Christmas kisses, mistletoe is horrible stuff.  It can suck the life from a grand old tree.  It will, if you let it.  It starts small, and is hard to find, because it blends in.  The more you have of it, the more difficult it is to differentiate the parasite from the authentic tree.  Gradually, it spreads throughout the tree, until, it seems, you have more mistletoe than oak tree.  You can lose trees that way.  

Modern society is like that mistletoe.
Our children are emerging into a forest of choices. 
Many of them are dark and troubling.

The passage into, and through, adulthood will not be easy.  It is incumbent upon us to equip them for the journey. 

 We must teach them to “keep awake”. 

We must teach them to be on guard against a society that is not God honoring.  We must teach them to “watch” for associations that will not facilitate their growth in righteousness.  

Habits form early.  When children grow up in observant homes, they drink in what occurs around them.  Our hearts follow our actions.  We become what we do.  

“Lex orandi, lex credendi”
As we pray, so we believe.

There are no guarantees.  Our children have their own hearts and minds, but, by immersing them in a home filled with sensory experiences of prayer and worship, of the sacred, we give them patterns for living that will serve them well.  

So, keep your observances rooted in a relationship with God and his Word, but don’t be afraid to keep them.  Make sure that children experience the cycles of the Christian life.   Teach them all the ways in which the traditions and observances of the church are born of, and immersed in Scripture.  Make it meaningful.  Make it Christ-centered. What children see, smell, and hear stays with them, and informs their current, and future, thoughts and decisions.  Go ahead and light the candles, sing the hymns, bake the nativity cake with your children.

They’ll need a firm foundation.

They need all the pruning and bolstering they can get.
'Keep awake; the time is short.'

Pax Christi,

1 comment:

  1. Amen! It's a shame that some parents in our current society do not take the raising of children more seriously.

    At any rate, your family picture on your sidebar is beautiful. What a lovely family you have. :)

    ~M. Wildflower


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