The End Times Approach: A Note from the Rector
October 1, 2020, 10:37 AM

No, this is not about the mailing many of us received in the last week that describes how the Book of Revelation tells us we are in the midst of the end of everything.  The pandemic, a contentious election season, fires, and hurricanes certainly may lead us to wonder about that.  Nonetheless, I think such predictions remain as chancy a business now as they have ever been. The church and/or the people have been stating the end is now since the first century.  And yet, we are still here.

Will that Day come?  Yes.  Will it be what we expect?  Doubtful.  So what shall we do?  We shall go on.  We shall treat each day as precious and God-given.  It’s really simple!

October is the month that leads us into All Saints Sunday, which this year falls on All Saints Day itself, November 1.  On that day we will renew our baptismal vows.  Please send the names of those you wish remembered on that day to Karen Ricketts (cecmadison@cinergymetro.net) or call the office (812-265-2158).

End Times are a dominant lectionary theme as the season of Pentecost winds its way toward Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year (December 6 this year). Until Advent, we will be hearing of events that describe Jesus’ time in Jerusalem before he was arrested: all the challenges that the Judean leaders made to him, and his responses and parables that indicated what would befall those who were faithful to God and what to those who were not. 

These are all difficult texts, which are intended to move us into a period of self-reflection about the ways in which we live and act in faith.  These texts tell us that it makes a difference what we do and why we do it.  These texts are prophetic in nature, and over the centuries that Christians have grappled with them, our forebears have been called again and again into a mode of repentance, forgiveness, and justice. 

And let’s face it, these are particularly difficult texts in our own day, when troubles loom large already, so that adding a layer of end times prophecies just seems like adding garlic icing to a kale-flavored cake.

I have the sense that we are (as I am) in search of the Good News that Comforts, not texts that threaten or challenge or stress us out. These texts may well give us pause. (I do hope you’re not thinking: “Thanks for the warning, Mother Evelyn, I won’t be coming to church until Christmas now.  I can’t handle the stress!”)  What can I say?  After all, the Gospels are the Gospels, and they do contain some hard words.  But they also contain good words – and good news!

Remember the comforting words of Jesus to his disciples as his arrest drew near:  This is my body, this is my blood. “I tell you I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  (Matt 26:29.)  And don’t forget his last words to his disciples, as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt 28:20.) 

“Tell it out among the nations: ‘The Lord is king! He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he will judge the people with equity.’” (Ps. 96:10.) 

God has not left us.  God is still here.  Jesus walks with us the paths of sorrow and grief.  Jesus knows our fears and our anxieties. The Holy Spirit prays within us with sighs too deep for words. We are NOT ALONE. God’s mercy is far beyond anything we can ask or imagine.
The Gospel, taken as a whole, is all about hope and the love of God for all creation, and for us! All we are asked to do is to keep trying and keep the faith as best we can.

May peace be shared among us all.