Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Fire and Ice
"Help you here?"
Standing in the bank line-up, I could hear the voice but could not discern any available teller. She spoke again and I could see the smiling face just a little bit above the counter. She was a very pleasant Caribbean woman and easy to talk to. She teased me saying, "Oh so the big fellow just couldn't see us little folk down closer to the ground."
For some reason conversation shifted to the predominant news item of volcanic activity in Iceland sending up ash, molten material and glacier bits. This process had endangered air routes across the North Atlantic and had stopped most of European and Mediterranean air traffic for days- the biggest disruption since the 9/11 terrorist event.
The woman looked concerned and said, "Oh and don't forget the earthquakes, poor Haiti and now China. What is happening? I think it is near The End."
She gave me an inquiring look. A fellow believer? I responded, "Do you mean like Matthew 24?" (wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in divers places, pestilences, false messiahs before the end of the Age and the coming of the Son of Man). She gave me a knowing nod.
The next day at the grocery store the conversation with a meat department staffer got around to poetry and Robert Frost and one selection in particular where Frost posits whether everything will end in fire or in ice. Again, reference to The End?
And don't forget the blockbuster movie "2012"...
People are frightened. They feel they are standing on uncertain ground. Meanwhile the news services focus on the relatively trivial-Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, Dancing with the Stars, law-breaking athletes, Karla Homolka's criminal pardon...
I feel a duty to present to people the impression of a Christian who knows that things will get worse before they get better. This planet will go through overwhelming turmoil, but not annihilation.
The believer carries the message of a "coming through" - through the storm on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus, through the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army in hot pursuit until the last moment, through the destruction of Jericho with Rahab the woman who had trusted the promise of the Hebrew spies, through the maritime storm with runaway prophet Jonah in the belly of the great fish, through the fiery furnace in Babylon with the three Hebrew youths and the mysterious "Fourth Man" affording their protection, through the lion's den with Daniel the man of unstoppable prayer.
Strange confidence? The people all around are reaching out for it.