“By your endurance you will gain your souls.” This is the closing statement by Jesus in this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 21:5-19). In the midst of the cosmic, social and interpersonal turmoil that Jesus describes, it may sound like Jesus is simply channeling the Roman poet Virgil (70 BC-19 BC): “Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.” But, is Jesus simply advising that we “tough it up”?
As disciples of Christ, we are to be strong. We are to be strong, however, as disciples of Christ. In other words, our strength is not simply that of virtue. Virtue is a good thing! It ought to be acquired (by repeatedly striving to be strong; in the case of virtue, you fake it until you make it). We do want the inner strength that enables us to stand our ground and think clearly when we are tempted or overwhelmed.
But we have available to us another strength. The psalmist tells us (28:7) that “The Lord is my strength”. The Lord, whose disciple I am, is my strength. If I open myself to Him, a mysterious strength is given. As the psalmist says in this Sunday’s psalm 98, “With his right hand and his holy arm, has he won for himself the victory”. We are called and invited to share in God’s victory. Let us welcome it in our daily lives. Nothing and no one ought to keep us from loving and thus living with a sense of freedom in our hearts.
Yours in the Lord our strength,
From the desk of the Rector