The End of the World

When you enter someone’s house

for the very first time,

you compliment it.

That’s good manners.

That’s just what you do.

Even if you dislike the style,

even if you’d never want to live there,

even if the paint colors look like children’s breakfast cereals,

you compliment it.

That’s good manners.

That’s just what you do.

As Jesus and his disciples leave the newly constructed temple,

the disciples remark,

“What wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”

They compliment it.

That’s good manners.

That’s just what you do.

And this innocent, polite compliment

transitions Jesus into foretelling the end of the world.

He uses the language of childbirth:

“These are but the beginning of the birth pains.”

Jesus looks at the glorious temple like a pregnant woman’s belly —

it’s cute, but it will disappear after childbirth.

It is merely a cocoon for the caterpillar until the butterfly emerges.

I survived the end of the world three times already.

First there was Y2K.

Then there was that preacher in California back in 2011.

Then just recently the Blood Moon this past September.

I survived the end of the world three times already —

many of you survived it many times more.

We hear about in the news:

Many people laugh at it,

Few take it seriously,

But then,

when alone,

in the silence,

we…wonder.

Those vulnerable moments give us pause

to soberly evaluate where we tread,

to judiciously consider where we head,

and to squint at the heavens…for the advent of our God.

While many laugh at these scares,

I took more out of those moments

than those moments took out of me.

For in those ponderings

we hug our loved ones a little tighter,

we forgive those who annoy us over trifle matters,

and we say an earnest prayer for forgiveness and salvation.

[roach Bible & news]

When considering the end of the world,

the news kills —

the Bible gives life.

[Isaiah 33:6 tattoo]

We cannot deny the end.

We cannot hide it.

We must embrace it.

Live aware that the world will end.

Know in your heart of hearts that this life is the prelude.

Look at our buildings and possessions and accomplishments as pregnant bellies that will soon disappear.

During World War II Churchill declared, “This is not the end, nay, not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

So when nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom,

when leaders declare war and rumors of war spread,

when earthquakes shake and famines ravage,

when headlines terrify and trumpets sound,

when bombs devastate and the slain innocent repose,

when the cocoon shatters and the birth finally takes place,

Be. Not. Afraid.

For those who do not believe, the end of the world is a gnashing abyss,

But for those who believe, the end of the world is not the end of the world.

So this we hold onto, to this we hold fast:

the best means of living is ready for death.