“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
Today, our youngest daughter is 24. She was born in Boston, during a very hot summer, between my second and final year in seminary. We waited in the heat for her arrival that summer, finally purchasing two wading pools -one for me and one for Emily and Ariel - just so we could keep cool in the oppressive heat. The hose was running all the time. Her sisters, her Dad and I were so happy that she joined our family then. She made a lively and robust family all the more lively. She now lives is Boston and sometimes it is hard to believe how grown up she is. She was born on Bastille Day and on Woody Guthrie's birthday, signalling freedom and music for all. I am so proud of all my daughters and am amazed at what remarkable and talented women they truly are.
Jesus was speaking to the disciple about end times and the kingdom of heaven. They really didn't want to face an ordeal of any kind and he was preparing them as best he could for what was ahead. They were to understand, as we are, that we can't control the onset of ordeals and trials, the in-breaking of God's kingdom or the end - whether it is our end or the end of the world as we know it. Like a woman waiting for labor to begin, it is in God's timing, not ours. We are to enjoy the gifts we have been given in the present times, work diligently for Christ, forgiving and loving as we have been taught - no matter what we face.
Today I want to give thanks for all the gifts of love in my life and especially Phoebe on her birthday. She and her sisters remind me daily that no matter what we face, hardship and challenges are no match for the love that surrounds us and the presence of God's love in our lives. May we rejoice in the love we have been given and hold fast to those who love us so we can face each day with joy and love.