April 8, 2011
Saturday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Day Twenty-eight
Morning - Psalms 108:1-6 & 112, Exodus 2:1-22, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Evening - Psalm 118, Jeremiah 17:5-14, Mark 13:24
This passage continues our Lord's discourse regarding the coming tribulation of Jerusalem. To understand the meaning of the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, we must look back to the Old Testament. In Genesis 37:9 the sun, moon, and eleven stars represent Joseph and his family. In Ezekiel 32:7 the celestial bodies go dark at the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This is symbolic language, equivalent to saying the sun smiles or the clouds weep. The point in Mark 13 is not that the stars literally fall from the sky or that the sun and moon will literally go dark. As in Genesis they represent people, but here they are not bowing, they are going dark and falling; they are dying. As in Ezekiel they represent death and destruction in Jerusalem.
As we read the New Testament's words against the religious leaders of Christ's time, we may forget that we also deserve to suffer the consequences of our sins. The collect for the Fourth Sunday of Lent forcefully reminds us that we are sinners whose only hope is the grace of God in Christ.
"Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."