day dawned with shards of autumnal colors cutting across the sky. The days
are cooler, shorter and darker. The harvest is nearly done and our thoughts
turn to the end of the year. To the south, the days are warmer, brighter
and longer, the bougainvillea is in bloom, the planting is nearly done and
our thoughts turn to the end of the year.
Today’s scripture passages hint at the end of the year as the end of time,
when we will be judged and harvested by our loving creator God.
The reading from Revelations presents the evocative image of a loving God
harvesting the grapes and grain from a ripe earth. The psalmist presents
a God coming to judge the world with righteousness. And in Luke’s gospel
Jesus cautions his followers not to be taken in by false prophets or predictions
of the end of time. All suggest expectation, anticipation, and preparation
for life lived with God.
Expectation is part of our life and our prayer. When rooted in faith, expectation
becomes hope. And in hope our peace, our forgiveness, our stability in Christ,
shadow the beginnings of eternal life here on earth. Something of eternal
joy begins already amid the distress and fears of this life. Without hope
we cannot anticipate our life in Christ. Without hope we see no compelling
reason to prepare for life in Christ.
Scripture encourages us to look at the world around us and at our own (uniquely
yours) life in God’s hands, to form for ourselves an idea of what eternal
life with God means. We all have moments when we feel suddenly renewed, happy,
absorbed in a great mystery. There is the security of a parent, the support
of a loving relationship, the surprises of friendships, the consolation (and,
yes, desolation) of prayer, liberation from a heavy burden, the transforming
power of a Brahms piano concerto, or the sheer joy of a beautiful sunset,
all of these are hints of what is to come in our life with God. Dare I say,
in our life in heaven?
But not yet! In a hauntingly familiar description of our own times,
Jesus assures us, the end is not yet. He says: “When you hear of wars and
disturbances (as we do), do not be terrified; for these things must take
place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
But the end will come some day for each of us and for all of us. Hope is
to be our companion and guide in our expectation and preparation for what
is to come. My autumnal colored sky is a sign of hope as sure as the rainbow
announces the end of a storm. For as each day dawns it presents new opportunities
to see God as God is, moving in and around us.