Readings: Psalm 146:5-10; 2 Peter 3:11-18; Luke 3:1-18
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob…who made heaven and earth, the sea, an all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. [Psalm 146:5a, 6-7, NRSV]
But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish. [2 Peter: 3:13-14, NRSV]
I’ve lived through three “end of the world” days; I’ve had doomsday pamphlets handed to me in front of the post office, and an agenda for the apocalypse (day one) left on my windshield. The few interviews I’ve seen with the leaders who predicted these end times weren’t filled with visions of peace and renewal: they were full of dire judgement – a now you’ll get what’s coming to you, complete with a good finger wagging. Nowhere to be found was the patient love of God, the lifting up of the poor and oppressed, or the revolutionary idea that the end of the world is its transformation into its true nature – a leaving behind of partial peace and fleeting compassion and the arrival of their fullness.
The day of the Lord is coming, true enough. But if it’s anything like the coming of God in Jesus, it’s not going to be the ultimate smack down many expect. It will be life renewing itself, precious as a new baby; it will be justice which offers mercy for all shortcomings. It’s not torture for all those who didn’t get the Jesus memo, or got lost somewhere along the way. It’s the entire creation becoming home, where no one is lost and everyone is welcome. Rest for the weary, food for the hungry, peace for the troubled spirit. In other words: a new heaven and a new earth. Amen.
Lord, walk with me, traveling home to Bethlehem.
[Two Rowhouses, 2018-2019, by Colin Fredrickson]
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