Signpostfro Sunday 15 November, 2015: 1 Samuel 1:4-10; Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25; Mark 13:1-8.
The Little Apocalypse, the beginning of which forms the gospel reading, seems to have been triggered by the disciples drawing attention to the construction of the temple. It was built by Herod in an attempt to get the Jewish nation to accept him as king, and was still under construction at the time of Christ.
It was apparently one of the most beautiful buildings of its time.
It was the centre of worship, but the attitude of Jesus to what went on there is clear from other passages (Mark 11:15ff).
By enforcing a requirement that all animals for sacrifice had to be inspected before being purchased for offering, and charging high prices for them; by making sure that any money offered was permissible in the temple (currency trading?) the traders in the court of the temple were making a large profit.
This was so much out of line with the concept of a house of prayer and worship that Jesus described the situation as one in which the house of prayer became a den of robbers.
In addition there was an undercurrent of belief that rebellion and war could solve the problems of actual and perceived oppression, and this, eventually, led to the destruction of the temple.
The moral and ethical issues were eating away at the foundations of the society.
The attachment to a specific place was limiting the perception of God.
We can see at least some of these things in our own society.
The words Jesus spoke, while warning of the inevitability of disaster, were also an encouragement in the face of difficulty and persecution.