Monday, September 01, 2008

We who live at the end of time

I'm listening to what's happening in New Orleans and obsessing about Hurricane Gustav. I notice that some of the newsfolks have a kind of not-really-well-disguised sense of excitement. They love trouble and glee. Because, they themselves are exempt. I mean, honestly, some of these guys seem to become journalists because they like bringing bad news. Kinda like when they were little kids they must've been the ones who loved to bring bad news...to be the center of attention. Okay, I'm cynical. But I'm a Christian. We Christians are supposed to have a divine cynicism about human nature.

Anyway, yesterday I was reading Jeremiah 45. And came upon God's Message to Baruch.
1 This is what Jeremiah the prophet told Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, after Baruch had written on a scroll the words Jeremiah was then dictating: 2 "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: 3 You said, 'Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.' "
4 The LORD said, "Say this to him: 'This is what the LORD says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the land. 5 Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the LORD, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.' "


Notice that Baruch and Jeremiah are pretty much annoyed with all the bad guys, all the idolatry, all the bad priests, and false prophets. They don't much want to see their fellow citizens destroyed by God for sins, but they totally understand what God has to do. But Baruch, like most Christians who await the apocalypse and God's shutting down of the world (or unveiling of the truer realler world) often say, "we'll be raptured, we won't suffer with the rest of the earth." OR some such thing. But what if we aren't raptured? What if we have to endure suffering?

Notice Baruch has had a lot of sorrow. Probably professional plus personal. After all the kings hate Jeremiah, they also probably hate Jeremiah's scribe. But what does God say to Baruch? "If a terrible disaster happens because I'm bringing judgement against the world, do you think you'll escape grief also?"

Not only does God's judgement begin with the house of God but even if we are Christians, we still live in the world. God's judgement affects us too. When the apocalyptical stuff starts getting worse and (as Jesus says) "Men's heart start failing them for fear because of all the things coming upon the earth," will we be able to say, "Marantha -- Even so, come Lord Jesus."

Dear God, "The whole world belongs to you. Help me to be holy and help me to love those who suffer during disasters..even if I consider them 'unlike me.' Help me to endure if natural or economic disasters occur around me. Let your kingdom come. Amen."
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