â€œBlood moons and solar eclipsesâ€
I remember in 1980 watching a news reporter broadcasting live from the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the United States. It was midday and yet it was pitch dark because of the ash and he went on to say that â€œthe locals here are saying this is the end of the world. And if I didnâ€™t know any better, I would agree with them.â€
Is it just me, or right now does it seem that the dangers in the world have seemingly escalated â€œovernight.â€
Godâ€™s â€œtime peaceâ€ Israel is front page news. The creation of a Muslim state in Iraq. Vladimir Putin, The Ebola virus threat and now even in Australia it would seem the government wants to go â€œbig brotherâ€ and monitor all we do through our P.C.s.
Right now it would seem that Godâ€™s got his hands full keeping a lid on all this stuff and so weâ€™ll just have to leave it with him.
So what of us-where do we stand amongst all this? Put our head in the sand like an Ostrich, go to the pub have a couple of beers and make out everythingâ€™s all good or like the family on T.V. the other night, start preparing, or â€œpreppingâ€ Â as they say and start stocking, fuel, food and Ammo for the crunch time.
Ironically, both of these â€œstrategiesâ€ can seem quite alluring and especially if you combine the substance of the first with the ideals of the second.
With our modern technology the world has become a very small space and it would seem that the caves spoke of in prophecy where we are urged to go and hide in may not cut it any longer.
So what to do?
The saying about â€œnot worrying about things we have no control overâ€ ring true as does Luther when he urges us to â€œpray and let God worryâ€ because when it comes down to it, apart from prayer what can we offer towards rectifying those situations on foreign shores many miles away.
And so we pray and we pray some more for those beyond the realm of our help and leave our prayers with God as we go about fulfilling his call to us here in our small patch where we do have the ability to make a difference and see Christ in our lives and understand what it all means like Peter came to learn in his moment on the seas of the sea of Galilee as recorded in todayâ€™s Gospel lesson.
Itâ€™s a lesson and miracle story we know so well. The story of Peter who while he kept his eyes on Jesus was all fine, but when he notices the peril around him his eyes divert and he starts to sink but is saved when the outstretched of Jesus pulls him from the stormy sea. That lesson in itself is enough for us today to know and if thatâ€™s the total of what we take away with us for this week then praise be to God.
Does this mean that on Monday my bank loans will have mysteriously disappeared?-no.
Does this mean that tomorrow morning weâ€™ll see Jew and Arab in the Middle East settling their differences for peace?-not likely.
Jesus reached out and saved Peter amongst the storm but the storm didnâ€™t abate. The waves didnâ€™t stop simply because Jesus was there, they stopped only when Jesus put Peter back in the boat, and that boat for us is the Church.
We are in peri less times and things are happening that we have no control and so for them we pray and leave the outcome to God. Seemingly end times events we have no control just like we have no control over earning our way to heaven and in both we trust in our Lord and saviour to hold firm to us as He has promised from todayâ€™s reading in Romans where He assures us that â€œEveryone who calls upon the Lord will be savedâ€.
World events are Godâ€™s care so we will not worry. If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and you desire forgiveness in His name-you are saved and will live with Him in heaven for eternity: so to worry about that is nothing short of a waste of time.
I repeat:Â If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and you desire forgiveness in His name-you are saved.
The end times started when Christ defeated the devil on the cross and indeed the apostles believed that He would return for the final time in their lives. He didnâ€™t and who knows where history stands today in that facet. We donâ€™t know and because we donâ€™t: Our call is to work towards what we have some control over in these forecast end times and go back to the future and stand up against the prophesied apostasy within the Christian Church.
The Church is the life boat. The place of safety with Christ at its head and in times of trouble it is the only true place and that is why we must be vigilant against the powers of darkness to weaken the safe haven it is.
Since the garden humans have been tempted to think thereâ€™s other ways of doing things than simply taking God at face value and the same temptation is continually put before the Churches. Temptations everywhere-thatâ€™s life as to when we fall to it and throw ourselves before God and receive mercy in Christ.
Apostasy is to fall away from the truth and to fall to temptation and receive forgiveness in Christ is not apostasy-quite the opposite.
Apostasy is the Church falling away from the truth as prophesied and that is where we come in and stand firm for those around us who are teetering on the edge of the oblivion with practices that offer not comfort in salvation in Christ alone but in all manner of side shows and unnecessary distractions.
We are not perfect and nor is our Church when seem through a group of fallen people coming together in a building of bricks and mortar.
Yet Christâ€™s Church is prefect because it is His Church.
Pray we know which is which and preserve the truth of God for the sake of those still fighting against the undertow for the lives of many may depend on it. Amen.