“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31
General Convention came to a close late yesterday afternoon. I watched as many bid dear old and new friends farewells with promises to see each other soon. We all know are lives are so scattered and busy that getting together is more complicated than we wish. The cars and cabs lined up as people headed home by highway and airport. I leave for home in a few hours with joy in my heart. Although we are scattered to the four winds, it has been a grace-filled convention and the spirit was gentle and compassionate. I have renewed many friendships and forged new ones across many aisles, boundaries and divisions. I have hope despite the challenges that lie ahead.
Jesus is speaking to the disciples about the end times. He understands that there is much ugliness, violence and persecution they will have to face. He knows they don't want to hear it and he probably doesn't want to tell them. The promise throughout what pain and tribulations we face, is that God is in the midst of our worst nightmares, and that God will gather us all up again no matter how scattered and torn we have become.
I ask God for traveling mercies all around. We all have much to face in the days ahead, and there is much to be done waiting for us at home. May God give us all the strength to carry the burdens that we bear and give us joy and laughter so that we might lighten the load for others. May all that we do, no matter how far we go, carry the love of God, to the four winds and the people we find in the days ahead.