Friday, September 27, 2013

Column in Kingsport Timesnews 9/27/13

“Hope in a Cup, East of Eden”

This month Miley Cyrus made an imbecile of herself, fears of WWIII were escalated once more over Syria, and the shooting at the Washington Navy yard all washed over the the newswaves like an avalanche.  Meanwhile, our family quietly drove down to Arkansas to welcome our first grandchild into this world.   Holding our newborn grandson in the hospital, I was instantly aware of the contrast between his pristine innocence and this vile world he now inhabits.  Though I know he’s in capable hands with our son & daughter-in-law, I desperately wanted to hold him close and shield him from the world.  

Between rampant immorality on the TV/Internet, incessant saber-rattling in every corner of the Middle East, and gratuitous evil on every street corner, how can we possibly be optimistic about this world?  I can’t help but reflect on the regression and complete moral decline our culture has taken in my lifetime -- I have grave concerns for the world our first grandchild is inheriting.  This all reminds me that the world seems to grow worse with each passing generation.

As the Bible says, in the end of time, worldly conditions will worsen: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.... while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  (2 Timothy 3:1 and 3:13 ESV)  “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12 ESV)  So maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised when everywhere I look, this world gets bleaker with each passing year.  

It’s amazing to me the progress we can make in medicine and technology, we can live longer and have a better standard of living, but we seem more corrupt than ever.  I’m reminded that we are truly East of Eden; this world is so filled with sin, strife, and hatred.  I wonder how we have survived this long, when Sodom and Gomorrah were incinerated, looking almost mild compared to a lot of what surrounds us today.  

But then... then I’m reminded of the dual promise given when we share communion, while we participate in the Lord’s Supper, the blessed Eucharist, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26 ESV)  The promises: Jesus died for our sins, and He is returning to make all things right.

I find hope in this present darkness, by looking into my newborn grandson’s eyes through the lenses of faith.  I’m once again reminded of the unconditional love of Jesus.  I’d do anything for our grandson, though he’s done nothing to deserve my loyalty, other than being so cute!  I also find in experiencing the birth of our new grandson, a renewed energy to spread the influence of Jesus and His Kingdom -- because that is the only hope for the future of his new world.  Maranatha!

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