Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Sunday Word

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, 

wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away."

Sunday’s reading from Revelation is typical of such biblical thought. The day is coming, says the Lord, when there will be no more mourning or crying or pain, “for the old order has passed away.”

We most often hear about Christianity’s view of tomorrow when we are personally facing sorrow or pain that seems insolvable. “Don’t lose hope,” we say. “There is a better world coming.” “In the end, nothing can separate us from the love of God.” “Tomorrow — some distant tomorrow — you will see your loved one again.” “Tomorrow there will be war no more.” “Tomorrow all violence will cease, and people will live peaceably with their neighbors.” And so on.

But all of that is based on an ultimate tomorrow that’s so shrouded in mystery that it’s hard to get much out of it when we’re dealing with the complexities of the present. God’s tomorrow is the basis for Christianity’s long-term confidence, but the promise of someday seems so far off that it can feel like little more than wishful thinking. At times, the best we can make of the tomorrow factor is to deal with it in a less-than-ultimate way.