Here is a reflection from last night’s apocalyptic Sunday readings:
Hey! What’s new?
That can be a catch up line…But “what’s new” can also be scary. After all, who knows what day it will be when our world ends? The Mayans tell us that the world will end of December 21, 2012 at 11:11 …I’m not sure if that’s Eastern Standard Time or not–so don’t hold me to that!
And while I’m not buying that prediction and hope you’re not either, it has given me reason to reflect on the question of:
Where will you be when your world ends?
And we can take that any way we wish…because the truth is that your world ends pretty often.
Let’s face it….Your world ends when something unexpected or tragic happens…someone dies, you lose a job, you break up, there’s a hurricane.
What’s new…sometimes is not at all good!
And the truth of today’s readings is not merely to be careful, or even fearful because life can change in a moment’s notice–it’s precisely the opposite.
The message of the Gospel is to live more boldly—not just because our time on earth is fleeting but also because Jesus reminds us that even when our world ends: God is always near, caring for us anyway—making all things new.
For people of faith, even the end of the world is a new beginning.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel:
“In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.”
What a great image because a gate often represents a time of transition. And whenever a gate closes we stand on the opposite side of it at a new beginning. And we have the freedom to go any way we wish and God will be with us on that journey.
And we need to trust that when all kinds of horrible things surround us each day: War, hurricanes, break-ups, deaths…that God continues to be faithful to us.
And that is not an easy thing to remember.
Because in our most challenging moments don’t we often let fear and even hopelessness take the lead? Don’t we often question if God is even there at all? Don’t we fear, just a bit, that when the world ends there just might not be a Jesus on the other side of it all?
Do you know what I fear more than anything else?
That I simply just don’t become forgotten!
And I have some logical reasons to fear that. Because how many of us can remember our great-great-grandparents? Probably very few of us. What about people even older than that in our heritage? Oh sure, we can look up the geneology records but honestly the truth is that most of us will eventually become just like them. Forgotten.
And think that is why we come here. Because God reminds us that becoming forgotten on this earth doesn’t matter.
Because even when our entire generation, all those with first hand knowledge of our very existence passes away… God still remembers us.
What’s even better is that God embraces us, each one of us, and all he asks each one of us to do is to remember that.
And if we do, well, shouldn’t we live a bit more joyfully? Filled with this good news, shouldn’t this call us to not be afraid of what will happen at the end of our world because we know and believe that God makes all things new?
And when we come hear each week, we come not merely to fulfill an obligation out of fear but also, don’t we also come to be reminded of the great hope that God gives us here at this altar where we see God provide for us his body and blood, our reminder to us, that just as God changes bread and wine into His body and His blood, He also changed death into life.
And because God makes all things new again, shouldn’t that call us to do the same?
When tragedy strikes often everyone else tells us we should lay down..but God tells us to get up. Everyone tells us it’s hopeless…God tells us to hope. There is always more to talk about than despair.
These are the last few weeks of our Church calendar. In just two weeks, we move into the season of advent. And what do we do at the end of the year? We make resolutions. We try to die to some old ways of living that aren’t healthy. Lose a few pounds. Eat healthier. Spend more time with family and friends. Get rid of some bad habits. Forgive someone… or ask forgiveness ourselves.
Why do we do that? Because in the deep recesses of our soul we know that we too are called to make all things new. And we need to be mindful of the fact that just as we live a bit more each day, we also die a bit more each day.
So, there’s one question for us to answer tonight: What do you want to make new in your life?
This week know that God is ready to help you make something new on that journey. And even better….
when it seems like the sun has been darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars seem to be falling from the sky,
and one might think that the powers in the heavens have be shaken.
That’s when God is even closer to us, embracing us, and inviting us to stretch ourselves just a bit farther to believe that God still exists at all, despite all the problems we are going to face over the course of our lives.
As we begin to move towards Advent–let us remember that God is already here.
And guess what…that’s nothing new.