Living in an Apocalyptic Moment

In days such as these there is a tendency for some Christians to seek a kind of intelligible relationship between the current pandemic and scriptural prophecy regarding the "end of the world". This is sometimes identified as "apocalyptic", a word that is found in several places in the New Testament, most notably as the "title" of the last book of the Bible. However, in the world of sacred scripture, apocalyptic is not so much about the end of space and time as much as it is about the revelation of God's final victory over the forces that oppose his "kingdom" or rule. In fact, that is what the word literally means---to reveal, to unveil.

Do you remember when Jesus was brought to the temple as an child? He was taken up into the arms of an old man named Simeon. Luke records that when Simeon took the child into his arms he declared, "my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”  The word translated revelation is the word apocalypse. Though Jesus is the ultimate revelation or apocalypse of God, there are many and varied times and seasons  and objects of apocalypse or revelation.  For instance, the Jewish book of Sirach (found in our bibles in the "Apocrypha") uses this same word to relate not the revelation of God, but the revelation of one's deeds: An hour's misery makes one forget past delights, and at the close of one's life one's deeds are revealed. (Sirach 11:27)

Given such scriptural usage of the word apocalypse and its derivatives, I agree that we are living in an apocalyptic moment and I want to encourage you to do the same. Not an apocalypse that is bringing an end to the space-time universe, but an apocalypse that may be revealing certain things about how we order our lives as individuals, families, communities, businesses, churches, etc. Are we open to such "revelations"? Are we open to have our lives, and more specifically the shape and emphases of our lives, exposed for what they are? Do we have the courage to speak the truth about what these disruptions are teaching us about ourselves?

We are living in an apocalyptic moment. Do not fear to come to the light and have your heart, decisions and actions tested. Explore your fears rather than dismissing them. Ask them questions. Why are they present? Do they speak the truth to you or are they deceptions and distortions? Listen. Be quick to hear and slow to speak. Let us not waste this moment when it is as though the entire world has been disrupted by forces that are beyond its control or desire. Let us humble ourselves and heed Wisdom's call away from our simplicities to embrace her mature teaching about ourselves and our world. This is indeed a day of light and not darkness. Our hearts are open and exposed in all their rawness as we make our way through this valley of the shadow death. Let us not be afraid to look at them and to tell the truth about what we see, for this is the beginning of sharing in Wisdom's guidance.

May the peace of God rule your hearts,
Then I, justified, will behold Your face; awake, I am filled with the vision of You. - Psalm 17:15

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