|Tucson Botanical Garden|
"And then they will see the Son of Mancoming in a cloud with power and great glory.But when these signs begin to happen,stand erect and raise your headsbecause your redemption is at hand.” Luke 21:27-28In this passage, Luke has Jesus talking about the destruction of Jerusalem with allusions to the end times of the world itself. Everything that we rely on, understand, see and use will somehow pass away. We will have great fear because we realize that with the world passing away, we are left to our own devices and those devices seem fundamentally inadequate for our life and well being.
This echoes the reading today from Revelation where the absolute destruction of Babylon is recounted and with it the coming of "one like the son of man" to take over the world. When I read those words about Babylon, I am tempted to think of the earthly enemies of my own culture and society and that somehow the Divine One will prevail and hold my values victorious. This would be a misreading since any earthly power is Babylon. In a even more fundamental sense, my own existence in the world is my own personal Babylon: my ego, my property, my knowledge, my reputation, my creations. To the extent that I rely on those to provide me safety, security and justification, I am relying on powers that will pass away and leave me naked before the Divine One. That will surely happen to me because that is death.
Sometimes I feel death is too present in my life. As I experienced close friends and family members going through that final transition, I cannot help but think about my own transition. As I see death and destruction throughout the world--along with much that is good as well--I think about the worlds of Jesus: all this will come to an end. And when that begins to happen to me, I am called to "stand erect and raise my head because my redemption is at hand."