November 27, 2009

Nov. 27: The cycle of nature

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By Luke Gascho, executive director of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College
SCRIPTURE: Luke 21:25-36 (NRSV)
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DEVOTIONAL:
The sun burst forth again this morning!

It began with a glimmer of light. Then came the brightening of the sky and a coloring of the eastern clouds – followed by the dramatic rising of the familiar orb. Signs of its presence were all around: reflections in ponds and wetlands, golden light on tree trunks, sparkles on the frost, and a deepening blue in the sky.

Watching the development of the sunrise as I travel to work each morning is a favorite routine of mine. While all this is happening, I am reflecting on the many challenges and opportunities that are ahead in my day – projects to be developed, teaching assignments to be finalized and budgets to be balanced. There is also the awareness of large, global issues that haunt my mind. God uses the daily cycle of the sun to create a balance in my heart, mind and spirit as I review the impending list of activities and responsibilities.

I am grateful for Jesus’ teaching in today’s passage. It is encouraging to note how he references the cyclical aspects of nature as a way of helping us – his followers – to reflect on the heavy burdens of the present and fear of the future. Jesus does not name the issues of poverty, hunger, international conflicts or climate change, but at the same time I hear him identifying with the significance of issues found in all ages. In the perplexity of facing hard issues, Jesus speaks a clear word of hope. Christ is the Redeemer.

I commit myself again today to Jesus’ directives: “look,” “be on guard” and “be alert.” These form the basis for positive action. Jesus doesn’t call us to live in a state of denial, which can be tempting. Rather the Lord of Hope beckons us to be purveyors of “Good News.”

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SCRIPTURE: Luke 21:25-36 (NRSV)

‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

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Comments (5)

  1. Luke, I enjoyed your interpretation of this passage very much, and take courage in your description of the cycles of nature as divine reassurance in the midst of difficult challenges that we have in Christ what we need to meet them.

    Ann Hostetler November 27, 2009 |
  2. When I was a child, I used to use any excuse to miss Mass on the day this gospel was read. It terrified me. Reading your hopeful message and watching the rising of the round bright sun with you brings me back across many years to those childhood days. I’m suddenly thankful instead of being fearful.

    Marianne Huber November 27, 2009 |
  3. ..and pay attention. Thanks Luke, for the insights.

    Jep Hostetler November 27, 2009 |
  4. Luke, sometimes I find it takes extreme effort to “be on guard” so that my heart is not weighed down by “the worries of this life.” So much of the information that wants to intrude on our lives is worrisome. Your meditation gives affirmation to me in my attempts to frequently replace listening to the news with more life-giving pursuits. It made me see this passage in a new light. Thank you.

    Mary Ellen Meyer November 27, 2009 |
  5. Oh to be a purveyor of “good news” as I continue to look to the Lord of Hope. Thank you, Luke, for this reminder. Blessings of Hope and Peace.

    Rosellen December 4, 2009 |