Everything you wanted to know about the Rapture, but were afraid to ask…

Grace and Peace to you

My sisters and brothers in Christ

We ask the question

When will this be,

And what signs

Because the world is imploding on itself

And it seems to be hopeless

But we must remember of Christ’s call to servanthood and to Love

That we are called to be the light in this darkness

Just as Jesus Christ is our Light

Amen

 

“Tell us, when will this be,

and what will be the sign that all these things

are about to be accomplished?”

(pause)

As human beings we have this obsession about knowing what will happen,

Before it happens

Because of childish impatience

We flip to the end of a story to see what happens

We scroll ahead to the end of that episode we recorded

Because we just have to know

Our anxiousness drives us to ruin

Because we need to know right now,

If we got that promotion

Or if our children got into that college

Or even sitting on our hands

Because we just want to scream

“Get on with it!”

Waiting to hear the good word,

As I shared with the ELCA Church Council during my Bible Study yesterday

Of those going through entrance, endorsement and approval

In this Candidacy process

(pause)

Even people of faith,

We are obsessed to know when,

When will Jesus return?

The apocalypse, the Rapture, the End Times

It’s something that frightened me greatly as a child

And caused me to have distrust in the Creator God

It caused me to avoid reading Revelations

Especially when every church’s message of salvation

Was wrapped up in the only reason why God had created us

Was nothing more than a linear ordering of our steps

So we would not be caught in a fiery ending.

That our whole purpose and goal was to run to Calvary

To save our souls

So that we would not be left behind

Meanwhile, our sacred bodies suffered,

Forgotten

(pause)

The Left Behind series,

Movies, television

All focused on the END

And not the here and now

Remember the whole Y2K drama?

Remember 2012?

Remember the countless numbers of modern day “prophets”

who warned us of the END?

Particular dates, tied in with the Blood Moons, and other signs

“Prophets” who are anticipating the annihilation of the Palestine people

Because somewhere they have it in their heads

That the Creator God only loves those of the Jewish faith,

And that Jesus only came to save them

And not all of us

(pause)

But understandably, why wouldn’t we be begging

Pleading

Praying

For Jesus to come quickly,

And save us?

Each morning seems to give rise to destruction of bodies

Pushing out more and more hatred to the beloved community

Fixated on protection of oneself, protection of property

Seems as if our lives are as messy and chaotic

As this ancient community in the Gospel of Mark this morning

Jesus’s presence and his ministry among the faithful

and the struggling

and the Empire

Caused no doubt immense upheaval

This unknowing when the disciples and other marginalized people

Would receive their reward, would be freed

Certainly tugged at their spirits,

And so the disciples come to Jesus asking the question

“Tell us,

when will this be,

and what will be the sign

that all these things are about to be accomplished?”

Many of us who are followers of Jesus Christ cling to this question

As THE question of our faith

The disciples wanted to know

when the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple

Which occurred in 70 A.D.

We want to know too,

Flooded with predictions and prophecies and promises

Promises, hidden it seemed in the Scriptures

When will the Son of Man

Shake the heavens

And carve out for the faithful

A new beginning

A new Earth

(pause)

And Jesus once more draws the disciples, and us

Into this sacred moment

Jesus called the disciples to be observant, watchful

Because just as there are right now,

There were those who preyed upon the vulnerability

Of the children of God

Who undoubtedly were confused with sages, teachers, seekers

Who claimed to also have the same abilities as Jesus

Who preyed upon the fears of death and the unknown?

Who saw the opportunity taking advantage

Of the collective sins and shame of the community

To fill in those cracks in theirs, and ours,

Worn, frayed and fragile spirits

With tangible, temporary adhesive-

Easily offered from altars and tables full of false promises

Of prestigious status

Of wealth

That somehow all of these things,

Or aligning oneself with the “right” church

Which when you followed to the letter,

The “right” doctrine

And shunned all others

Forgot all of those other sinners

You would pass the ultimate test

You would be assured a seat in heaven

You would be taken up with all the others to heaven.

You would never be exposed or be in the midst of any wars,

Any danger

Experience any death

(pause)

And so our souls are anxious and worried,

That we aren’t doing everything right.

And we forget what comfort God’s Word is for us!

“This is the covenant that I will make with them,

I will put my laws in their hearts,

And I will write them on their minds

And I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE!”

See, this promise that has been etched permanently

Etched across our foreheads,

The sign of the Cross

Etched in our hearts

The burning of the Holy Spirit,

Etched on our feet, our hands, our voices

The promise that in our imperfection

God finds the raw material,

For creating an essential,

Powerful,

Beloved Disciple, Follower of the Creator God

Equipping us to vibrate as the Light

To stand as the Light

Because Jesus Christ is Our Light,

Casting out,

Pushing the boundaries of the darkness

Which perhaps lately seems so far reaching into those sacred corners

Causing us to worry, to be anxious, and to weep.

And causing us to feel as if the apocalypse is upon us,

Devoid of any promises of hope.

But,

There is Good News,

“For you do not give me up to Sheol,

or let your faithful one see the Pit.”

Perhaps in that moment,

As Jesus hung on the Cross

That seemed to be apocalyptic-

The world shook,

The temple broke

And the cosmos MOURNED

But if we take the Greek understanding of this word-

Of revealing, of uncovering

Through that apocalyptic moment

The Grace and Peace and MIGHT of the Creator God,

Was REVEALED

That the Cross was shattered,

Into God’s instrument of HOPE

Because CHRIST WAS RAISED from DARKNESS

INTO LIFE EVERLASTING

And that, beloved-

Is the promise that can never be washed away,

Erased,

Removed

Even when humanity is blinded to the permanent etchings

Of the face of God on our own faces.

(pause)

So I have no words,

No explanation why,

Why over 140 people were murdered in Paris

Why over 147 students were executed in Kenya

Why night after night, people lost in an apocalyptic fog

Harm and brutally hurt one another

On our own streets

Why day after day,

Students are fearful of stepping out their doors,

To learn, to live

Because of how the Creator painted them

And why day after day,

Governments of the free world

Are clinging to the old oppressive Roman Empire ways,

Suppressing their own sisters and brothers,

That they are called to serve!

It seems as if these are the End Times, right-

Seems as if the world is at its darkest,

Just like on that Friday,

As Jesus hung on the Cross

But just hold on-

Because Sunday’s on the way!

(pause)

Thanks Be to God

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