Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Luke 17.26-end (3 before Advent: Friday)

Listen to a reflection for 3 before Advent: Friday, 11 November 2022, on Luke 17.26-end

Luke 17.26-end

Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them – it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.’ Then they asked him, ‘Where, Lord?’ He said to them, ‘Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’ 


How many times do we hear of someone’s sudden and unexpected death? Sometimes we view such a death as a tragedy because the person who has died was ‘So young’ or ‘Had so much to live for’. Sometimes we find ourselves saying: ‘What a lovely way to go’ or ‘We should not be surprised because he or she had reached such a good age’. No matter who the person and no matter what the age, a sudden and unexpected end to any mortal life is a shock, and it should give us cause to pause and reflect.

In our sophisticated modern age, an age in which medical science has invested us with a misguided sense of invulnerability, we like to think that we can take control of our last moments on earth, and upon the way in which our lives are recalled and celebrated. A bewildering range of funeral plans are advertised in a targeted campaign that plays upon our weaknesses in such matters. And so many people waste so much time planning their own funerals, totally ignoring the need for a funeral to ‘close the circle’ for those who are left behind.

In today’s reading Jesus makes it clear that we are not in control of our own ends. Neither the time nor the manner of our death is in our gift. So … why waste so much time on it? We are given the gift of life. How we use that God-given gift should be the focus of our efforts. We have no way of knowing how or when our lives might end in this world, but we do know that such a precious gift should not be wasted.

On this day in 1918 the conflict that many hoped would be The war to end all wars drew to a close. The anger, the pride, the folly of humanity had cost so many lives during the preceding four years. Then at 11am on the eleventh month of that year a line was drawn, a period of new hope began. But … that new hope was short-lived because the same obsessions and pre-occupations soon re-surfaced. The ‘need’ to be in control and to dominate took over once again. The vulnerability of the human condition was, yet again, challenged by the belief of the strong that they could determine their own destinies.

In the light of today’s moments of remembrance, and in the light of today’s reading from scripture, let us pray that we might hold firm to the faith which demands that we trust in God alone and not in the strength that comes from our misguided belief in the illusion that we can outwit God and shape our own futures.