It’s been over a year since anyone posted here, and suddenly thinking about that, considering the thread topic (“Hope”), seems sad to me. I just received the following from a good friend of mine, and it happened to come almost literally at a time I needed it. He was referring to the state of our nation (U.S.), but I see a much greater meaning, in so many ways, and thought I’d pass it along with the hope that it will be helpful to others as well.
I get daily readings during Advent and the one for today is certainly worth sharing. It does put the big picture into perspective quite nicely. While we must continue to do our best to make things right, it is nice to know that we are not in control, nor is any single party, person, or political persuasion. Think of this as a Christmas gift from Jesus for all who believe.
What will the end times be like? Luke gives us Jesus’ apocalyptic speech concerning the end of all things: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish…Men will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming on the earth. The powers in the heavens will be shaken…” (Lk 21: 25-26).
This is a kind of unraveling of what we read in Genesis. In the beginning, God drew order out of chaos, setting the sun and moon gently in the sky, distinguishing the dry land from the sea, putting our first parents in a peaceful garden.
Jesus predicts the reversal of all of this: the sun and moon will be shaken, the earth will rock, and the waves will overwhelm the dry land. But then, in the midst of this chaos, “the Son of Man will come on a cloud with great power and glory” (Mt 24:30).
What in the world do we make of this? Let us first attend to the imagery of collapse. A sad but undeniable fact of our experience is that nothing lasts. The gorgeous sunset endures for a few minutes and then it is dark; the placid sea is roiled by great winds; plants grow up, and then they wither and fade; animals roam the earth and impress us with their power and beauty, but in a matter of a few years, they fade away. Everything in the cosmos passes—and indeed the cosmos itself passes.
Next, we hear about political chaos: nations will be in tumult. Well, one is tempted to ask, “What else is new?” Even the most casual survey of history shows that nations have always been in tumult. Politics has always been a blood-sport. Peace is usually just a brief pause between battle, a chance for the two sides to take a breath.
So, in light of this collapse and political chaos, do we just fall into depression? No! We realize again the liberating truth that nothing here below lasts, neither in nature, nor the cosmos, nor politics, nor our own bodies. Everything passes. Therefore, don’t expect to find your ultimate fulfillment in any of it! Look elsewhere; look higher. Look to the Son of Man.