1 Thessalonians 5: 1 – 3
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape!
* Writer’s note: The writer to the Church in Thessaloniki was writing to a people who had thought the Roman empire would bring peace and security, but had found events turned out very differently. I reflect, Creator God, on my mother’s response to unexpected events. Her generation had, in the previous decade, lived through the 1939-45 war, supposedly the war to end all wars. So news of earthquake, volcanic eruption and armed conflicts sent her into fear that the world would dissolve in nuclear disaster.
What is it, Creator God, about humanity that we consistently desire peace but in our own image? We cannot seem to learn to live in your security, with a peaceful mind among disastrous events knowing that you have us engraved upon the palm of your hand.
There is a jumble of such thoughts and news in our minds at present, as we struggle to disentangle human engagement from natural disasters; otherwise we would be forced to face our own complicity in “natural” events.
We hold before you the floods and lives lost in southern India and wonder why the storm did not spin the other way over the fire on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. We pray for Hyderabad, India and for the firefighters, residents and students in Tanzania in the area of the National Park; for those threatened by and those fighting the continuing wildfires in California, U.S.A.; for those on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. battered by yet another hurricane.
As tentative talks on the Lebanon/Israel maritime border begin, we await the outcome as it is already blighted by thoughts from Israel that talks are not worthwhile if Lebanon’s economy collapses. We pray for the diplomats in these talks.
Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir, and other politicians detained by Indian authorities, following the revocation of the region’s autonomy last year, have been released. A year on from India’s scrapping of its agreement over Kashmir land-grabs and rising unemployment, we wonder about Nagorno-Karabakh: are there lessons the world should take there? We pray for the people of Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh.
As scientists say the Australian Great Barrier Reef is damaged beyond repair and dead sea life constantly washes ashore in Russia’s Kamchatka province, we pray for the scientists trying to turn the tide of our unwillingness to change our comfortable lives.
We thought pandemics didn’t happen in the modern world. Now, many European countries are returning to full or partial lockdowns and a number of pharmaceutical firms have halted their Covid-19 vaccination trials, and so we pray for all our world. Lord, hear our prayer and let our cry come to you.
Engraved upon my palms, yes, written on my hands in letters spelled out large for all to see, your name is marked forever, will never be removed. I’ll not forget that you belong to me.
As a mother tends her tiny child, I will care for you. You shall never be forsaken, never left alone. I’ll enfold you with my arms of love. I will comfort and surround
I love you with a love far greater than you’ve ever known. Right from the start I held you, I steadied your first steps, I led with cords of love that will not break, I took your hands and guided, I healed you with my touch. know I’ll be with you every step you take.
(From R.Jones – “Snakes and Ladders” © 1999 CMM publishing)