Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Storm Is Approaching

Revelation 8

Good morning my friends,

From all predictions it is a good day to stay tucked up at home with a nice cup of hot chocolate and the Word of God. Do not feel defeated because you could not make it out for worship. We have had it good for too long. We need to remember that we live in Canada and more specifically, we live in Montreal. This used to be normal, 40 to 60 cm of snow with high winds is a blizzard and blizzards are as dangerous to life as tornados.

It is good that we have forecasters who can give us warning about such storms. They save many people from a lot of heartache, or, at least those who heed their warning. There are always those odd individuals who think they have a “Get Out Of Jail” free card and can avoid any danger to life in the midst of such storms. Most of us who are intelligent and wise listen to the police when they are telling us to stay home. It is a shame that more of us do not heed the warnings God has given us as well.

As we read through Revelation, especially this mornings reading, it is hard for us to relate what we are reading to this wonderful time of Christmas. Christmas is such a great celebration of love, joy, hope and peace. One of the problems is we have relegated it to a time of celebrating childhood, trying to make Christmas as special as possible for them. And why not? It is the celebration of the birth of a baby. Mind you, not just any baby, but the Son of God, who had come to open the door for our rescue.

We would like to keep the time of celebration a joyous event with lots of music, lights, colours and an almost magical time for children. Yet, this is also a very serious time; deadly serious. Just as the weather forecasters tell us what is likely to happen before it arrives, giving us time to prepare, so the Word of God tells us what is going to happen with certitude. So why are we not preparing? Why are we not warning people? Never before in our history are we seeing the world change so quickly when it comes to the predictions of global doom. The debate should no longer be about what caused this. The scientists are now saying that it is too late. Changing our habits may lessen the effects 100 years from now but our course is set for the next fifty years. It is going to happen. What we are reading in Revelation is going to happen.

If this is the case for the events that will take place in nature, earthquakes, floods, famines and such, can we not also accept that the predicted political situation will also unfold? This is no longer happening in the future, it is happening in our life time. We look at our government and think everything is stable but it is not. Things can change rather quickly overnight. Look at what happened in Quebec during Trudeau’s time. Look at what happened globally after 911. Things can change quickly.

These events that are revealed to us in Revelation should not be the things that concern us, at least not the disastrous things. They will just lead to physical death. The thing that should concern us is what takes place at the end of this time; the great judgement. As we googoo over the baby in the manger we have a major “storm” about to hit the world and people are ignoring the forecast. This “storm” will be bigger than any tornado, blizzard or hurricane and it is now within sight. Are we prepared? Are we warning people?

I am not suggesting that we do away with our wonderful Christmas celebrations. The feasts, the music, the colours are all a great reminder that the Father did not leave us to our own demise but laid out a plan for our rescue. Yet, Jesus, the one we celebrate at this time of year, told us that we are part of the rescue mission. We have a job to do. Worship refreshes us and renews us. It renews our relationship and reminds us of our purpose. We need this constant renewal because we have a job to do. But it seems we want the renewal without the responsibility.

Keep in mind the letters to the seven churches. Which one do you identify with? Where are you in this relationship with Jesus? Where are you in understanding purpose? Are we making disciples? Very few of us are. It requires relationship and we are not very good at relationship. Yet, that is what Christmas is about, relationship.

Read over these last couple of chapters in Revelation again. Go ahead and read the one that follows. Look outside and see the blizzard that has hit our city. Use it as an object lesson this morning. Let’s get to work.