The Last Act?

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."Luke 21:28

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Lately, this scripture plays in the back of my mind, like a soundtrack. Is it my age or the stage of the world?  At 58, I'm at the beginning of my last act here. So maybe it's just looking forward to the epilogue, which I'm expecting to turn out to be the play itself.

And yet, the world's play begins to feel like it's in its final act, too. America is in deep debt. Many would have us believe there's only this story, so why not eat, drink, and be merry? Maybe I'm reacting to the pace of technological change. I'm getting tired of Twittering and Facebooking and who knows what the next big thing will be.

In Luke 21, Jesus talked about earthquakes, war, and famine. We're all aware of Haiti's grief. America fights two wars. People continue to starve to death. Those signs are already on stage. And yet, Jesus also mentions other signs of the end. "Jerusalem surrounded by armies"–not yet. "Signs in the sun, moon, and stars" –not that I can tell. Is "fainting from terror" like stress-related heart attacks? Is that sign is already in costume, waiting backstage?

Maybe it's just America's strutting on the stage that is coming to an end. Or just mine. Whether regional, global, or personal, there will be an end. What can we do?

We can lift up our heads to look for our redemption. We can be careful, as Jesus warns, so that our hearts are not "weighed down with…the anxieties of life" so we will be ready. He said he'll come unexpectedly, and yet he also gives us some warning signs to listen to. When the curtain comes down, whether on our life or the life of the world, may we have ears to hear his music.

Father, you, alone, know the time of the end. Please prepare our hearts.

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