Sometimes I look around at the evil in our world and wonder when will it all end. When is enough, enough? Yesterday we all were witnesses to another mass shooting in the United States. Our world is being plagued by violent acts on a daily basis. Roughly 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water and 3.1 million children die of starvation related illnesses each year. Each of us know of someone effected by cancer or some other horrible disease that is crippling them or their family. We are surrounded by political rhetoric promising a solution to national and international problems and I find myself wondering again, when is enough, enough?

I don’t mean to sound fatalistic, but there is something severely broken in our world. There is something wrong with where things are headed. And yet…in the midst of this brokenness and ugliness I hear the words of an ancient prophet in Israel, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) The Hebrew for “deep darkness” is probably best translated as “death’s shadow”. There is no denying that in our world and the age of technology we can almost always feel we are living in death’s shadow. We hear of war, death, destruction, hatred, racism, and violence in a never ending stream of news. And yet…a light has dawned.

The season of Advent is always one in the Christian calendar that I think we struggle with. We are in a rush to get to Christmas and we tend to skip right over the waiting when we are not careful to pay attention to it. But Advent is the celebration of the “light that broke into the darkness”. That same light has proclaimed to us, “You are the light of the world”. (Matthew 5:14) In the midst of ‘enough’, we have been called to be ‘more than enough’. We have been charged with being the light in the darkness, the hope to the nations, the love of God for a world so broken and marred by tragedy it’s hard to imagine a better way. But Advent reminds us of that. Advent reminds us that the Kingdom of God is both now and coming and we are ambassadors of that Kingdom.

So maybe enough is enough. But we are called to go beyond all of this and wait with patient anticipation for Heaven to break into this ugly mess and proclaim with the angels, “We Bring You Good News of Great Joy, Which is for Everyone…The Light has Shone into the Darkness, and the Darkness will not win”!

One Comment Add yours

  1. fayance says:

    People are always predicting end times, but sometimes it does seem that we as humans go through cycles in time containing increased periods of violence and unrest. Christians of course view ALL of history as corrupt in the sense of our fallen state and wait for the Second Coming and Jesus’s return; but I was just reading an interesting interview with a Theravadin Buddhist master who said in Buddhist tradition there is a cycle of about 2,500 years between the death of Buddha and a new appearance of the next Buddha, called Maitreya Buddha (anyone mastering the path is called a buddha but this is like THE Buddha, not to be confused with reincarnated masters who reappear shortly after death as young children ‘discovered’ and identified by followers as that master’s reincarnated form). Anyway, in my usual disjointed fashion I was saying this Buddhist monk was explaining how the cycle right before the Buddha’s reappearing (approx. every 2,500 years, not just once like Jesus coming back) is often noted as another ‘Dark Age’ in which people have largely forgotten or distorted the Buddha’s original teachings and much evil and misunderstanding have entered the world. Based on their calendar and certain prophecies, some believe that the 100 years before Maitreya Buddha’s reappearance sometimes show a resurgence of good works and faith and more followers enlightening others’ minds in preparation for Buddha’s return; based on their calendar, 1956 would have been the start of the 100 years, so by 2056 the ‘abyss’ will come in which the world degenerates pretty much into chaos. I guess after that the ones holding to this prophecy think that the ‘end times’ come and the universe resets itself with another Big Bang type occurrence and the Buddha returns again and the cycle endlessly repeats. Of course there is Mahayana Buddhism and Zen and many different teachings of Buddhism; this was just one interesting pov I found that I hadn’t heard before. But it does sort of fit with the Christian belief of a fallen world and end times and bad things increasing, etc. The monk who gave this interview about end times was Amaro Bhikkhu, he was born in London and earned a degree in psychology and physiology and became a Buddhist monk in ’79. He lives in the U.S. now, I believe, in a monastery in California. Sorry this is so long, I just thought it was interesting and in light of yesterday’s tragedy and the way things are going in the world, his perception of events based on ancient Buddhist prophecies was interesting. All I know is in many ways this life is suffering, which both Christians and Buddhists agree with; as humans and no matter what religion we espouse, our desire to avoid suffering leads us to try to cultivate love and compassion. But sadly those fringe groups who wish to destroy everyone else they can’t subjugate totally to THEIR theocracies mistakenly believe that THEIR God approves of such slaughter and violence and that only they have the right of it. So sad that in their blind, ravening hatred they miss the point entirely.

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