“And, when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; such things must occur; but the end is not yet.
the harm done
by rumors of war
is no less
than war itself
both trap souls
in fear of fear
erasing any memory
of original partnership
disappointment in others
desire for revenge
upon all who disappoint
until war comes full circle
to do in myself
and a next war
If we can’t count on wars and the sound of wars to be a sign of a final war to end all wars, we also won’t be able to use any old earthquake, volcanic explosion, tornado, cyclone, hurricane, typhoon to make the case that things are any more dire than they have been. We won’t even be able to use a doomsday clock or climate change to bolster our claim to the ultimate disaster.
If there is no penultimate sign either the world will go whimpering on without us or we’ll all be surprised at the same time when the curtain has dropped and doesn’t go back up.
We all know the bumper sticker, “Things Happen”. What we are wrestling with here is the even worser time when “Nothing Happens”.
It is very easy to sense a danger behind every blessing. Therefore the work of every angelic messenger (as well as yours as an earthly messenger) is to begin every message with those famous words, “Be not afraid”. Today we might say “Stay Calm and Carry On”.
It is helpful to cast our mind back to Mark’s time. The Jewish revolt against Rome failed. To protect yourself it was wise to turn someone else in. The Temple finally fell. There were wandering Messiahs, each claiming to be the real deal—more Messiahs than The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.
How is a community to stay together when their usual world has fallen apart? How does a community continue in the face of competing authorities each with a claim on their raison d’être?
Within the context of swirling meanings and nothing familiar to grab on to, it is actually helpful to know the swirl is not a final threat. We still have a wilderness retreat available to return from recentered.