In the same week as the various apocalyptic forecasts for the future of the UK, it's once again time for the Church of England lectionary (set readings for each Sunday and weekdays) to hit the spot.
Which is all standard biblical picture language for 'things are about to get really nasty, nobody will have a clue what is going on, and it will feel like the end of the world'. Within 40 years of Jesus' words the Roman emperor changed 4 times in a year following Nero's suicide, each with their own army.
Jesus warning in the light of the Europe-wide convulsions, and their grim impact on his homeland was: Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down either by indulgence or by anxiety. These have always been the two standard ways we deal with bad news and bad situations to avoid praying: blot it out or fret over it.
There is a third way: watch and pray. As if to illustrate, the same passage from Luke concludes with Jesus heading away from Jerusalem to Bethany, the garden of Gethsemane was on the route, and Bethany was Jesus place of retreat and hospitality. It's from the place of prayer that we see clearly. William Wilberforce credits the practice of Sabbath with keeping him focused and persevering on his great work. "Blessed be God for the day of rest and religious occupations wherein earthly things assume their true size and ambition is stunted…" I wonder if there's a connection between the Prime Ministers remarkable resilience and her regular Sunday worship. Can any politician lead well if they are in the swirl of events 24/7/365?