Terrible Signs

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” – Luke 21:25-26

 In Cleveland this past winter, in the middle of February, we enjoyed a full week of spring-like temperatures in the 60s.

In the western region of the Pacific, small islands are gradually disappearing under rising ocean waters.

So far in 2018 in the US, more school children have died by gunfire than military personnel have died in the line of duty (according to The Washington Post).

There are plenty of signs, terrible signs, all around us in the earth and the seas, in the stars and in the sun, in the news and in our communities. We are not lacking for signs.

The question is: how do we interpret them, and to what end?

Do we proclaim the signs of global warning to incite fear or to rally creativity?

Do we point to signs of violence to cast judgment or to join in lament?

Do we perceive heaven’s quaking as a call to humility or as an excuse for self-indulgence?

There are plenty of signs, terrible signs, and Jesus doesn’t promise their easy resolution but only: “the realm of God is near” and “my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:31-33).

Let signs come and go; Christ is near.

Let stars fall and heavens shake; we will watch and work together in the confidence of God Everlasting.

When I am afraid and troubled, be near to me, O Christ. When I would prefer to hide my head under a pillow or in the sand, help me draw near to others for the sake of your realm. Amen.

posted originally with Stillspeaking Daily Devotional

Commandment

I am the LORD your God.

Through grief and despair,
no matter violence or devastation:
I am the LORD your God.

Across the glorious heavens,
in the silent echoing of stars:
I am the LORD your God.

Though the vineyard yields no fruit,
though rocks torment the vine’s roots:
I am the LORD your God.

When justice is sweet as honey,
when injustice festers like a boil:
I am the LORD your God.

Do not break the bread of fear;
daily manna rains from heaven.
Do not pour the cup of bitterness;
the stream bursts from a dry rock.

Draw near to the LORD: be not afraid
of the rolling thunder and loud trumpets
that announce God’s goodness.

Listening (Lent 8)

Turn away from my prayers, O God,
but do not neglect to bend your ear
to the prayers of those who mourn.

Listen and be convicted, O LORD,
by the prayers of those to whom
the world is unjust and unforgiving.

Let your heart be broken
and healed again
by the prayers of children.

Hear with compassion the prayers
of the sick, of those living with chronic illness,
and of those with a terminal diagnosis.

Be ever near to the prisoner,
to the hungry and the poor,
and to the brokenhearted.

Blessed be the LORD, who saves us all.

Midnight on New Year’s

Would that I could escape this second, stretch out from the bubble that is this hour, and touch the hem of your robe there where you wade on the horizon, there where you watch the world go by out-of-sequence, there where you midwife death into birth and mourning into dancing, there where the soft shadows of yesterday’s dawn dance across your holy face with the blazing lights of tomorrow’s sunset. Would that I could be with you beyond time, without panic that joy is something to be lost, without fear that love is only a flower that fades, without despair that healing is beyond the reach of these days. Would that I could — but o! most Eternal God — if I cannot, then hide me in the hem of your robe until I see clearly the limits of the clock and the frailty of my faith.

on Ecclesiastes 3:11b