Saturday, June 18, 2011

Roaring of Sea and Waves

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:20-28

Years ago, when I was newly ordained, I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for an Anglican Women's Conference. It was an amazing experience, ordained and lay women from all over the world gathered together to share common experiences despite land and langauage differences. We had many bishops with us who were supportive of our many ministries. My roommate, a dear friend and extraoridnary native woman leader, had terrible trouble sleeping. She asked me one morning how I could sleep through it. I answered, "sleep through what?" We were in a hotel next to the ocean, and the surf pounded on the rocks all night. To me, it was a lullaby, living as I have, all my life by the ocean, I don't even hear it. It is a part of who I am. She was brought up inland and near mountains. Her life is full of very different sounds.

Jesus talks further about facing end times. The end times are always talked about, prayed about, predicted regularly in every generation, but the end times have yet come en masse to all of us at once. Some ache for it, others laugh at them, and yet others have a reverence for nature and the destruction that it can wage. Jesus invites us all to a posture of trust -"straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." No matter what the weather or the circumstances, we are reminded that we are held in loving arms, and God's plan is for the safety and redemption of the world.

Today I want to give thanks for the blessing of the waves, the crashing seas and the dangerous and fragile beauty of our world. May we all rejoice, that whatever befalls us, we are held in loving arms, whose aim is always for our redemption and safety. May we all straighten up and raise our heads this day.

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