Sights and Insights
Devotion for July 13, 2021
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers;the night is far gone, the day is near. – Romans 13:10-12a (NRSV)
We have a share with Rancocas Creek Farm in Southampton. That means that each Friday I go to the farm and pick up a crate full of vegetables harvested from the farm that week. Along with what has already been picked, there are always several “pick-your-own” items that I need to go into the fields to pick for myself. As I write this on Thursday evening, I needed to make an extra trip to the farm today. They sent out an email this morning urging that I come do the pick-your-own today, as they were unsure of what damage the coming thunderstorms might do to the crops. I checked the forecast, and it said that the first band of storms would come through in mid-afternoon. I thus re-arranged my day to go at mid-day to pick the green beans, flowers, dill, and cilantro that I had planted to get on Friday.
When a storm is coming, action is required. It certainly felt all afternoon like a storm might break out at any moment. Yet no storm came. I still expect something overnight, but the afternoon storm never materialized. The possibility was enough to make me change my day, and yet the expected event did not happen. Did that mean I was wrong to rush to the farm to make sure to harvest the food that was ready on the plant? I don’t think so. The green beans were certainly an unexpected joyful addition to dinner this evening.
Christianity has a long history of reading signs and expecting storms to arrive. Storms of the apocalypse, storms of the coming of Christ, storms of cosmic change. In every age, there are those who are sure that all of the signs that the end of time has come are present, and they wait expectantly for the world to end. Yet time marches on. Are we to conclude that Christ will never come; should we think that the apocalypse is an outdated fairy tale? Should we question our faith?
These are big, complex questions. It is worth remembering, though, that “apocalypse” refers to an unveiling, a moment when the curtain is pulled away and the reality of God’s transforming presence can be seen. It does not necessarily mean the end of history; rather, it is a moment of clear vision about the nature of God’s presence. In a sense, the apocalypse comes upon us every week in receiving the Eucharist. It is a moment when we recognize that reality has been disrupted by the coming of Christ already, and that coming continues to open new possibilities for us today. The coming of Christ is a storm that forces a sense of urgency upon us. The kingdom of God is present now for those with eyes to see it, and it is Christ dwelling with us that opens our eyes to that reality. When we recognize that storm coming, we are called to change our plans and act today in following the Christ who continues to be present in the world, transforming it.