Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
A dear friend died on September 11, 2016, after an eighteen-month battle with ALS. Among the many gifts she gave to others was the gift of knowing and planning for her needs. She knew she would need spiritual support during her illness, so she invited friends who had been part of her faith journey in small groups and Bible studies to begin meeting together, to contemplate God’s expansive love and power to heal, to pray, and to spend time (briefly) in silence.
One afternoon, as we talked about the future, the conversation ebbed and flowed to God’s coming reign of peace; to the day when wars and rumors of wars will cease, and debilitating diseases and other disasters—natural and human—will come to an end; when there will be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more dying. It was a vision of the Peaceable Kingdom, the lion and the lamb lying down together.
In the moment of silence that followed, my friend asked, “Do you really believe that?” “Yes,” I replied, “I do.” And so did she. She lived a life of faith, hope, and expectation.
I believe that God’s reign will come, because God in Christ became a human being and experienced a human birth—labor pains and birth pangs, breaking water, and new life. This birth, the birth for which we will soon watch and wait in Advent, the birth of the Prince of Peace, is God’s “yes” to the new creation, when God will reign and the whole earth will be filled with the goodness of God. Even now, there are signs, signs worthy of our trust: love and tender mercies, forgiveness and grace, healing and peace, signs of new life.
God’s reign will come. All creation, groaning now in labor pains, will be born anew to peace and wholeness. “Do you believe this?” Is this your hope and expectation?
Sue Koenig, pastor, Graceham Moravian Church, Thurmont, Maryland