The sun was out yesterday! But it rained during the night - and the floods are deepening and spreading. And the strong wind seem to have caused some havoc nationwide. Our plumber was telling us how he and his family were almost hit by a roof that was blown off an enormous barn. Natural disasters... which brings me back to two questions posed by Jesus' disciples - questions that had an urgent meaning for Christians back then, and an urgent meaning for us today.
Jesus has just told his disciples that the temple in Jerusalem is going to be destroyed.
"Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple. In response he said to them: “Do you not behold all these things? Truly I say to you, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.” " - Matthew 24:1,2
The 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel has also warned that, after the Messiah is "cut off" in death, Jerusalem and the Temple will be desolated.
The disciples then come to Jesus with two questions: Matthew continues: "While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”"
Two questions. Firstly: when will the Temple be destroyed? And it was very urgent to pay attention, because if people did not get out of Jerusalem at the moment Jesus told them to, they were trapped there by the advancing Roman armies. The Romans sacked Jerusalem, tore down the temple, stone by stone - and terrible slaughter ensued. History records that those who had become Christians left at the time Jesus told them to. The Arch of Titus stands in Rome to this day, and memorialises the fulfillment of that prophecy.
But the disciples had also asked a second question. What would be the sign of Jesus' presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?
The answer to that question brings us to 1914, and a time of increasing trouble in the world. I hope to get back to that.
Jackie is coming for supper tonight - and I am wondering what to cook... Or rather, have had to stop wondering, as my personal shopper (Captain Butterfly) fluttered off to Arundel yesterday, as the sun had suddenly come out, and a small photographic window opened. So he won't be shopping till today. In which case, it will be a question of what to buy from which chill cabinet. And heat up. Or should we have fish and chips?
My brain cells - all two of them - had better get to work. Its quite frustrating not to be able to go out and choose something.
I am up early - woke in the early hours, started thinking about coming hospital horrors - and can't sleep. I've just watched House Doctor. Lovely email from Anne o'the Cape in my inbox - and yesterday a beautiful card arrived from Bea.