By Ken Asel
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 24:25-31
25 “Take note, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
One of the struggles in the “religion business” is the struggle between authentic religion, summed up in James 1:27, and the use of religion and religious structures for purposes other than what God has in mind. “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken by the prophet Daniel, starting in the holy places… Flee!” (Matt. 24:15). Matthew’s reading for today appears to be filled with false prophets. How can we detect charlatans from true prophets?
Let me suggest at least a path through the thistles. Often the answer is to wait until things are more resolved, and see who turn out to be the ones following in the path God wanted for his people. Where are the fruits of the Spirit blossoming? Theology at its best has entailed an interplay between thoughtful people who struggle over the mysteries of revelation. People differ through this give and take, striving in a midst that can be confusing. But over time resolutions can become possible through waiting, watching, and listening. At its essence the purpose of theological learning is for serious, faithful followers of Christ to find wisdom for the journey instead of a personal advantage.
An excellent example of this process is the current work of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who finds holiness in the give and take as preparations for the Lambeth Conference take shape.
While hosts of commentators have conjected a variety of theories as to the application of this passage, ultimately the point is that the glory of God is not set aside for the gain and profit of others. God will intervene to set things to rights. Will others seek their own benefit, or will God’s commitment to the creation once again prevail?
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest of the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie and he have been married for thirty years and reside on the Front Range with their granddaughter.
To receive a TLC Daily Devotional in your inbox each morning, click here.
Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Ijumu (Church of Nigeria – Anglican Communion)
Academy of Classical Christian Studies, Oklahoma City, Okla.