|Image: Keesler AFB|
I'm away on vacation, at the shore, and if the Hurricane Irene makes it this far north still wielding a decent punch, I may have a front row seat for a stormy seaside show.
I hope and pray that Irene harms no one and does little damage to people's homes and properties - and I'm sure you join me in that prayer.
Against the backdrop of all the pre-hurricane hype, it's clear that news of a big storm sparks a lot of folks to get prepared: to stock up, board up, and look up into the skies in anticipation of what's coming up the eastern seaboard. Everyone wants to be ready to withstand what's on the way and to survive it - to come out on the other side hale and hearty.
Makes me think of the gospel we preach and how the whole of ministry is, in many ways, in anticipation of God's coming, again, at a time we don't know and, we've been told, at a time we least expect.
Folks are stocking up on food and drink lest they go hungry in a storm that will, if it reaches us, pass us by in a day's time. What other kinds of nourishment do we need to supplement our spiritual hunger in preparation for what's ahead of all of us?
People will board up their windows lest the storm crash through into their homes. How do we safeguard our hearts against the blasts and blows that hit us in our day to day lives - even on sunny days?
Folks will buy batteries and candles to make sure they have light if the power goes out. How are we keeping the light, the flame of faith alive in our hearts and our homes lest the threatening darkness overcome our capacity to see and discern what's true from what's false, what's pure from what's tainted, what's real from what's fake?
And people will worry and talk about the tribulations and trials we might face this weekend. How often, how freely, do we speak of our concern for that day, whenever it might come, when each of us will stand before the Lord and in the light of his presence have our lives weighed in the balance of mercy and justice?
I don't write any of this to scare anyone. There's a fair amount of good common sense in being prepared for bad weather - it just might save us danger and harm. And there's a fair amount of good common sense in being prepared for the day when the goodness of God dawns again and opens itself before each of us, inviting those who are prepared to claim the place the Lord has prepared for us in his kingdom since before the beginning of time.
The words keep watch and prepare and store up are all found in the scriptures - but not one of them refers to a hurricane...
As we prepare for this weekend and a storm that might reach us, let's take some time to look at how well prepared we are to meet the Lord whose coming is certain -- even if the day and the hour of his arrival are not yet ours to know.
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