With nearly any jigsaw puzzle, the differing shapes of the pieces are a big help in deciding what fits where, and at least you can tell which side is up and which is down. But with the World’s Most Difficult puzzles, it becomes more important than ever to rely on the completed picture on the box. Keep looking at those finished balloons: just exactly where is the red stripe next to the green stripe with a tiny sliver of blue sky supposed to fit in? Without knowing how it is all supposed to end up, what the final image is, the puzzle will never get finished.
As Deacon Chris mentioned last week, as we close out the green season and get ready for Advent, our lectionary has been asking us to turn our attention to passages about the authority and judgment of God, and to the second coming of Christ. It’s common to hear people remark that these passages seem negative, and that it’s kind of a downer to hear words about the end of history, global crises, and divine judgment.