Theme: Stay Awake! We can imagine the following embarrassing situation: A young baby sitter falling asleep or just stepping out for a short while, the children running all over the house, and the paents coming home from a party at midnight—a little bit earlier than anticipated! A soldier caught asleep on guard duty is court marshalled severely, and rightly so, for if the guards are sleeping, who can feel safe? We Christians believe that Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. Scripture teaces that we are related to God in a covenant. We are his co-workers in making this planet a better place for all. The moment you least expect it, the Lord may call you in. make sure that it is not going to be an embarrassing situation for you! “Take heed, watch.”
The Collect is an adaptation of the traditional Collect for Advent Sunday, which beautifully contrasts and balances the Lord’s first Advent in humility (and indeed secrecy) and his second coming in power and majesty
Today's passage is a prayer in a time of distress; God's people have returned from exile in Babylon but their return and the reconstruction have not been the success they expected. The cause of this failure, they reckoned, was their sin and disobedience. So their prayer is for salvation to come from without, from God, for there is no hope in the world. God’s intervention is cataclysmic, the heavens are rent asunder and the mountains flee from the face of God.
Psalm 80.1-7, 16-18
The Epistle: First Corinthians (1.3-9)
The Gospel: Mark 13.24-37.
1) Apart from details Mark contains very little that is not in Matthew or in Luke
2) When Mark and Matthew differ as to the sequence of matter, Luke agrees with Mark, and when Mark and Luke differ as to sequence, Matthew agrees with Mark
3) Matthew and Luke never agree as to sequence against Mark.
Mark became the interpreter of Peter and he wrote down accurately, but not in order, as much as he remembered of the sayings and doings of Christy. For he was not a hearer or a follower of the Lord, but afterwards, as I said, of Peter, who adapted his teachings to the needs of the moment and did not make an ordered exposition of the Lord.
Finally, there is a question of translation about the opening verse of the passage, which the NRSV renders "But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,” where older translations had “after that tribulation”. Now “tribulation” is just the Latin word that was formed from tribulare, “to press”, hence “oppress”, “afflict”, to render the Greek θλῖψις (thlipsis), which means “pressure”, and so “affliction”. The root meaning in both langauges is to “rub”, “sqeeze”, “press”. The root meaning of “suffering,” on the other hand, is “to bear”, “undergo”, “endure”, and the like (suffero; sub + fero). It would seem to me that, if “tribulation” is to be avoided, θλῖψις would be better translated by a word like “affliction” or “oppression”, which describes the evil that is happening to one, than by “suffering” which is really about how one bears up.