We begin at the end. We jump into the story near its conclusion. Not Jesus' story, but the world's story. We begin at the world's end. We begin this new church year with a reading describing the end of days.
Advent opens our new church year. We just finished “Year A” or the Year of Matthew, the first of a three year cycle. This year we're beginning what is known as “Year B” or the Year of Mark. This means that most of our gospel readings will be from Mark's gospel, with a little bit from John thrown in because Mark is comparatively short. It's about half the length of Matthew, Luke, and John, the other three gospels. Next year, we'll be in “Year C,” the Year of Luke. John doesn't get his own year. Don't ask why.
And today's reading from Mark 14 dubbed “the Little Apocalypse” (as if any apocalypse can be little) brings us face-to-face with the strange contradiction of Advent.
In Advent we wait for Jesus' arrival. Both as a baby in Bethlehem AND in a fiery cloud descending from the sky. The hope of new birth AND the terror of judgment sharing the same crib, fighting over the blankets. In Advent we get both stories as if they mean the same thing.
In Halifax, Rebekah and I got an earful from...(whole thing here)