Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

This Sunday's sermon had to force Carrol to meander around more apocalyptic stuff...this time the stuff in Luke 21. I was sitting there thinking about everything from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame to rattling off "War, famine, earthquakes, pestilence...nation against nation...kingdom against kingdom..."....and like the old Bugs Bunny Wagneresque cartoon goes, "Smog!"

It was not all the scary stuff in the text, but the final line that struck me--”By your endurance you will gain your souls.”

Christ's message is not “Ooooo, all these bad things are gonna happen so you better get your ass in gear and repent,” it is, “Yeah, bad things will happen...but if you stick with me, you will endure these things.”

I was thinking during the sermon about the fact that it is not wars and earthquakes and tidal waves and famine and pestilence that directly affects me, it is cousins in custody battles and cousins with alcoholic husbands and extended relatives with dementia and close associates who are retiring and leaving me in charge and family members with multiple chronic illnesses and anxiety disorders, and a vicar with pneumonia that make up my scary apocalyptic stuff. That “apocalypse” is much more real to me than all the natural disaster "end of the world" apocalyptic stuff. Who gives a rat's ass about the end of the world when sometimes the world in no danger of ending is a seemingly never-ending litany of shit? On some of these days, the end of the world seems like a welcome relief.

Then I got to thinking...maybe for our more fundamentalist bretheren and "sisteren", that is the weird attraction they have about the Apocalypse and their obsession with the Rapture. Maybe that is simply an attractive "escape fantasy." Maybe it gives people the opportunity to think to themselves, "This world is such an un-redeeming place that I sort of like the idea that if I'm good, Santa God will just whisk me right out of here, and I'll go to heaven and it will all be shiny happy joy joy."

That would be a little hard to do in my case, since I believe the Rapture is a 19th century invention based on Scriptural over-interpretation. I believe we're stuck with the world we're in till we die. Hey, when we die, it's the end of this world for us anyway. I believe with all my heart that the only thing that totally releases us from the darkness of our own personal apocalypses is death. No matter how close we try to get to God, and our success at getting closer, we never really quite get there. So the key is in that last sentence--endure. Ok, so I've established my Christianity is not a happy happy joy joy Christianity, it's one that is sometimes laced in an envelope of darkness.

The good news is we never endure alone. Christ endures with us. His sacrifice endures with us. That part about "gaining our souls" is very comforting to me. His words tell me that this is worthwhile work, to endure the darkness, because with each event, we gain something. We gain the understanding and awareness of our very own essence. By doing that, we can more freely give of ourselves. We become more complete.

Apocalypse? Ahhhhh, bring it on....



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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