15 March 2011

Downright Apocaplytic

That's how a dear friend described world events as he wrote to me today.  And it is so true.  There is a sense of being on edge.  I wrote back, this may be the real deal ("Come, Lord Jesus!") or it may be yet another one of those falling of civilizations that has littered the sad history of our race.  The odd thing is that we're seeing it all unfold before us because of our communications medium in a way that was never possible before.  But, indeed, earthquakes, dead fish, dead birds, so many dead in Japan, and no one knowing what's coming next...it all adds to the apocalyptic flavor of the present moment.  The sense of waiting for the next foot to fall.  What's next?

Our Scriptures know Apocalyptic writing, of course, but their overall thrust is actually eschatological.  That is, they fully grant and foretell that "this world" is "passing away."  But just as the great tectonic plates slip under one another and cause earthquakes, so slipping into this world that is passing away, there is the Advent of a Kingdom which will never end.  It is a Kingdom of joy, peace, and above all, love.  It is a Kingdom that appeared in our very flesh when our Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.  In our Baptism, we were "transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son He loves."  His Church is planted into this world to be the sign and promise and gift of that Kingdom's final triumph at the day of our Lord's return.

Meanwhile, His people, His body, is called to live in this world in the peace that the world cannot give, the peace He alone can give, that is the fruit of His Spirit dwelling in us.  And that peace is a peace that faces down apocalypses of whatever scale - big or small, tsunamis in our lives and in our world.  Terrifying nuclear accidents and you name it.  My friend, Fr. Heath Curtis, likes to use as a tag in his emails a saying from Dr. Luther:  "But with a man who belongs to an everlasting kingdom all is well and it is fitting that he should dance through life forevermore."  Luther could write that a scant two years before his death.  Things were looking pretty bad then too.  He thought the world couldn't last much longer, but here we are.  And we can still dance through life - for we do belong to an everlasting Kingdom, and so "all is well."

Even when everything seems to be coming apart at the seams.  Fear not, little flock, the Father has chosen to give you the Kingdom!


Anonymous said...

Words of comfort.
Thank you.

Phillip Magness said...

Great post.

And now, as a left-hand kingdom bonus, I have "Dancing Through Life" from the musical WICKED running through my brain! LOL

jgernander said...

What a wonderful comment by Father Luther! Do you know the source?

Jerry Gernander

Anonymous said...

Every generation sees the signs of
the end times. The only sign that
has not been fulfilled is that the
GOSPEL will be preached to all
people. When that sign is completed
the eschaton will be here. May the
Lord give us the courage to proclaim
the Gospel to all people.

Anonymous said...

Jesus' prophecy is actually that the Gospel will be preached "to all the nations" (Mt. 24:14), which has been done and is being done, although it is not very welcome in many nations.

Our Lord can come again any moment now. While there are blessings in this world, we will all say "Good riddance!" to it when our Lord returns because we know that the glory that awaits us is so much better.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

TE Schroeder

William Weedon said...

Thanks, all. Pr. Gernander, the quote comes from one of Luther's Advent sermons from 1544 - it is cited in Day by Day. I can look up the WA citation, if you'd like it.