First Sunday of Advent December 2, 2012
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars.”
When our world is shaken
Many years ago I accompanied my mom, older brother, and little sister to the theme park Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After enjoying the many attractions, we thought the “sky ride,” an open-air conveyance suspended on high poles, would be great fun and give our tired legs a rest—except for my five-year-old sister, who was afraid of heights. After some persuasion by Mom, my sister reluctantly agreed. My brother and I took the car in back of them.
My brother, the budding engineer, realized that if we made our car swing, it would have a direct effect on the car in front of us. Imagine our sadistic delight when the car in front of us rattled and my little sister shrieked in terror. As she clung to our mother, we continued our assault. About halfway through the ride, we noticed that our sister had stopped screaming and was the picture of calm. Later we found out why. As she clung to our mother and shook with fear, she recited one of the Scripture verses she had learned in Sunday school: “I will trust and not be afraid.” The moment she said this, she was filled with peace and was able to endure the rest of the ride in perfect security—no longer clinging to Mom.
Being unafraid when disaster strikes can happen only when we place our trust in God’s promise of deliverance. In this passage, Jesus addresses the Christian with absolute assurance. When our world is shaken, Jesus tells us not to run away or cower in fear: “Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” What a picture of confidence!
Many things can shake our world: crime, illness, natural disasters, war, economic upheaval. The last few years have seen a heightened interest in end-of-the-world scenarios. It’s enough to make us run for cover! But our faith is not in our own toughness or preparedness. Our faith is in Christ, who promised to be with us until the end of time. In that faith, when our world is shaken, we can look up.
Deliverance is coming!
Dawn Volpe, pastor, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, Wisconsin