You have no idea how tempted I was to get in the pulpit today wearing a big sandwich board sign that said, “The end is nigh!”
It’s Advent, and the texts chosen for us to study and reflect on in the Advent season are often chaotic and dramatic, foreshadowing the end of the world.
There are themes of apocalypse woven throughout, whether it is John the Baptist or Mary the Mother of Jesus talking about social apocalypse or Jesus talking about cosmic apocalypse.
We hear in our scripture readings on Sunday mornings about valleys being made low and hills lifted up, about the mighty being cast down from their thrones, about the axe being at the root of the tree and the chaff being burnt with unquenchable fire.
As I’ve preached before, despite what the onslaught of saccharine Christmas commercialization would have us believe, Advent is not really a tender and gentle time. It is about dramatic and earth-shattering upheaval.
And our texts for this Sunday are no exception. Jesus tells us that “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”
That’s pretty intimidating.
And Isaiah seems positively eager for everything to go to hell in a handbasket.
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence, as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil.”
He can’t wait!
Here is another opportunity to remind ourselves how different our outlook is from the people who originally heard these words proclaimed.
What kind of people are eager to see society torn limb from limb and for God to erupt into history with righteous vengeance? Continue reading