Lection Connection

November 14, 2021: What lasts?

From Joan Kessler


I have a difficult relationship with plastic grocery bags. I know I am supposed to remember my reusable bags when I go to the store, but more often than I would care to admit I end up taking the plastic one the grocery store offers me. They make their untidy presence known in the bottom of my pantry. And somehow, their numbers just seem to morph and before I know it, I have a large conglomeration of plastic made from various resources like coal, natural gas, and petroleum.


I discovered I am not alone in my addiction to plastic bags. An icon of convenience, every minute of the day humans use approximately 1 million bags for a mere 12 minutes before discarding them. Each bag can then can last another 25 years in a landfill before decomposing. My forgetfulness and need for convenience is having a negative impact on the health of our oceans and marine life.


The COP26 climate summit will conclude this week in Glasgow, Scotland. Its agenda was formidable. Its task was to convince the world that the way we’ve always done things must change. Politicians, lobbyists, celebrities, and protestors will all fly home with a new resolve to implement a global strategy to address our climate crisis. Not all nations were represented at the table, and many wonder what can be accomplished without them. What costs are we willing to bear to ensure we have a healthy planet to leave to our grandchildren and their grandchildren? What things, like plastic grocery bags, are we prepared to live without? We wait to see if leaders will make the changes necessary to hold climate change back.


What lasts? This is the question that is at the heart of our gospel reading this week. Jesus tells his disciples to not be bowled over by impressive buildings and the wealth and power structures that hold them up. The temple will fall again. And authority will be challenged. But the God of hope and every new thing is continually at work in new ideas and leadership. With courage, we can let go of old ways of being and embrace the new that will see our planet protected. We hope for our tomorrow, the future Jesus continually pointed to.


What lasts? I am still considering this question… the answer has to be more than a pantry full of plastic bags.


Explore… Mark 13:1–8

  • What things, what relationships are eternal for you?
  • How do you imagine an ending to our climate crisis? What does a new beginning look like?



Everlasting God, in our grief over what has become of Creation, instill within us the will and the resolve to change. Because we can make a difference. May it not be too late. Amen.


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