I remember when Robbie was expecting our first child. We had prepared as much as possible and gone over again and again just what we’d do when she went into labor. I also remember that neither one of us ever referenced all of the stuff we tried to learn ahead of time when the actual labor started. It was way more difficult and took much longer than we could have ever anticipated – and the only thing I remember from it was an intense distress and exhaustion.
We did home-births by the way…and I was there for every one of them…and I still have PTSD from the whole experience. (I can almost hear all the women reading this rolling their eyes and thinking “yeah, you poor thing”. )
My point is – actual labor is something the uninitiated cannot fully understand until it’s experienced. I like to keep that in mind when it comes to the text we’ll be reading this Sunday in our study of Mark. We’ll be reading Mark 13:1-13.
As you read this passage, what starts the whole conversation? What does the unnamed disciple bring up and what does Jesus forecast? That is the header for this section. Whatever we understand about it, it must primarily be speaking about the end of the temple age.
Jesus describes political, natural and religious distresses, and yet he states that these things aren’t indicators of anything but birth pangs. Labor has started. How does that temper your understanding of dramatic world events when they occur?
These are some of the things we’ll be thinking about this Sunday as we examine this passage together – hope to see you then!
One thought on “Birth Pangs of a New World”
Getting anything done diplomatically in the region will require a lot more than talking about President Bush’s “vision” of a Palestinian state and a “road map” that is the functional equivalent of the old Beach Boys song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” there is no active process associated with it, nor is there likely to be for the foreseeable future. Without revisiting the kind of peace process that the current Israeli government has sought to avoid, the “birth pangs of the new Middle East” may be interminable. Recognizing that Syria could play a decisive role in curbing Hizballah’s capacity for violence, Administration officials have been talking up plans to “peel Syria away” from its ties to Iran, although its refusal to talk directly to Damascus means it has to outsource the job to Arab allies viewed by Syria with contempt. And unless they’re offering a credible incentive, they’re probably wasting their breath: Syria has withstood years of pressure and harangues from the U.S. perhaps aware that the U.S. and Israel, knowing that the most likely alternative is the Muslim Brotherhood, actually want to keep the Ba’ath regime in place. Syria will refrain from confronting its more powerful enemies, but is unlikely to lift a finger to help them unless it can see in that course a road to end its isolation, and to a resumption of talks aimed at returning the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in 1967, to Syrian control.