“What do you think, Pastor? Is this the end?

“But in those days, after that suffering, 
the sun will be darkened, 
  and the moon will not give its light, 
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
(Mark 13: 24 – 26)
  At 8 AM this morning, it was dark, the smoke from all the fires blocking the sun. Life took on a strange quality. It felt troubling. One more thing to add to the strangeness of 2020. COVID 19, racial unrest and protest, a nation tearing apart, fires, and extreme weather events. 
  Two different people asked, “What do you think, Pastor? Is this the end? Has the time come?” I’m never quite sure how to answer questions like this. I am not a literalist. I take passages like these symbolically and mythically, not literally. The darkness and orange moon can be explained scientifically, we are suffering the consequences of global climate change, the warming of the earth. It is caused by human beings and we have failed to address the warnings and change our life-styles. Powerful leaders have even denied that it is real. Add to this a global pandemic and centuries of racial injustice exploding right now and we are in a real mess. Apocalyptic times. 
  Here’s what I believe — we are suffering the consequences of our actions and inaction. Life is punishing us, not God. We are capable of destroying life. For God’s sake, it is time to wake up and act in ways that nurture life and health, justice and the common good. 
“Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all. Keep awake.” (Mark 13:35 – 37)
Pastor Steve