Perplexity, My Dear Congregation, is a major weakness of modern times! Through the monotony of TV and through the peer review for publications, our opinions and information has lost its plurality to a great degree and we stand perplexed against the problems of our time. Our general view of the world is oversimplified and we cannot even understand and communicate with people who think differently, be that people who do not hold family values that high, as Jesus did not, be that people who would like to live as in paradise, freely enjoying sexual pleasures, or be that Fundamentalist Moslems. This week’s Reading is from Luke and it is very similar to the one from a fourtnight ago in Mark on Christian Priorities and Urgency. However, there are more signs mentioned in Luke indicating the day of judgement and some should make us think:
Luke 21: 25 to 36:  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. …  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Again a reading in scripture which is not just for Sunday Mornings! Distress of Nations! Didn’t we always have that? Were there not always some people in distress throughout history? Probably yes, but the word for distress, synochae, means a narrowing, a contracting, which can mean people huddling up in fear or maybe a contraction of the spirit.
Now is this contraction of spirit not a sign of our age? We live at a time with the most people ever in the world, but the plurality of opinions is as small as not for thousands of years before. It is worthwhile reading books like Avraham Barkai’s ‘The Economic System of National Socialism’ just to get an impression of the amount of honest thought that went into designing a new society before that time. Even entrepreneurs of the time were discussing the end of capitalism and how to move on from the economic hardship for the masses of the time. How does this compare to the lobbying competition into which modern democracy has decayed? We act like little children with our fingers caught in a cookie jar.
TV and peer review has made our opinions all into one and since scientific thought is still not understood by the masses, we adhere to a new religion, the religion of the bull – god of whom there is an image outside the Wall Str. Stock exchange. We believe, a religious act, in competition and dreaming big instead of Neighbourly Love and we do not even consider fundamental problems like overpopulation or whether there is sense in continuous economic growth. We just believe there is, since bull – god worship is our true religion, it is what we believe, it is what rules our everyday actions!
But deep in our hearts we know this will not go on for ever, but our spirits are contracted with perplexity and there are even influential politicians who ignore the sea and the waves roaring.
Let us have faith in God and trust those men who act and think in Neighbourly Love upon these matters. Our minds stall with fear and even in our enjoyment of Physical Love modern people are at least as restrictive as the Catholic Church was thought to be. Even though Jesus frequently spoke against family, we value family more and more and we constrict ourselves in competing for our families in the everyday struggle of life, preventing us to be loving and generous towards our neighbours.
Luke 17: 21: … the Kingdom of God is within you!