As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
Today is the last day of General Convention. It has been a long few days, with much good work completed and many relationships renewed. Sadly, a deputation and their bishop chose to leave because of a decision that was made. They might have come to the end of their relationship with the Episcopal Church. It has been a most interesting General Convention, and the overwhelming experience has been very positive. We have done good work and held each other in prayer as we did.
Jesus and the disciples are gathered in a private moment. They are struggling to understand God's timeline and their place in it. They are asking, "how much is too much?" And Jesus answers them and tell them to hold on, hang on, endure to the end. We face many challenges, many times of discouragement and pain in our lives. Sometimes it happens in and through the church. And Jesus describes faithfulness as not giving up, enduring to the end, trusting God, despite the hurts and abuse aimed at us. God is with us as we strive to endure through it all.
Last General Convention Prayer
O Divine Creator, you made us in your image and called us to serve together. Help us to hold on and endure, knowing that you face all of our trials and tribulations with us. May our words and actions demonstrate your love and compassion. May we not rejoice in victory but be moved by the needs of others. May we go from this place as people reborn in the image of God, undivided and trusting that God will bless as we continue to endure, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.