The Bible passage assigned to this week may be summarised as “Tidings of Trouble”.  Here Jesus lays out the future.  It is a difficult passage to understand because there are several themes which combine including: the ‘day of the Lord’ (cosmic upheaval), the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, the second coming and the persecution of the early church.  What moved Jesus to prophesy all these things was a comment about the wonder of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Jesus knew it would not always be like this.  Without going deeply into what Jesus meant, I think it is possible to identify four things from this enigmatic passage.  Firstly, Jesus knew the future was bleak but that did not deter him in the present from doing God’s work.  Secondly, Jesus was intensely honest with his disciples and didn’t try to ‘sugar coat’ what was going to happen to them.  However, Jesus also pointed out that his disciples will not meet these tribulations alone.  He will be with them through the pain.  Finally, beyond the pain of this earth there is a heaven where, in Jesus’ words, “not one hair of your head will be harmed.”  Yes, sometimes for the Christian things are bad or will be bad.  We need only think of our persecuted brothers and sisters in some countries today.  The Christian hope remains though, that in the final analysis, if we endure to the end, we will be safe in Christ.