A sermon preached at St. David’s by guest priest, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton

“American carnage.” Isn’t that the term used in the inaugural speech of the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Dark. Bleak. Chaotic. Fear. Foreboding. Apocalyptical.

Some of our ‘end time’ Evangelical brothers and sisters clapped their hands with great delight on hearing the term “American carnage”. They would like nothing more than for the Apocalypse to happen, for the Second Coming of Jesus to happen now. Right. Now. This now. Now, now.

The church has been expecting Jesus to return for a long time, and he hasn’t done it yet. “It’s hard to stand on tiptoe for two thousand years,” says William Willimon.

We’ve seen some of those apocalyptic images come out of Alaska after their 7.0 earthquake. The images look fearsome and foreboding. One of my friends who lives in Alaska, where they can have up to 24,000 earthquakes a year – admitedly, none of them of quite this magnitude – said, jokingly, “Tell everybody if they want to help, send dishes.”

We also caught some glimpses of that American carnage just this week when a few hundred refugees and asylum seekers and their children from the American-funded carnage in Central America rushed the border between Tijuana, Mexico and the United States.

So, in the face of all that, what are we to make of this morning’s passage from the 21stchapter of Luke’s gospel? How are we to avoid the temptation to see what’s happening in our world today through the lens of the apocalyptic chaos of this piece of scripture?

Well, the first thing is to understand that these words of Christian Scripture are poetry…

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