Saturday Week 34 Year I

Somewhere in the last decade I must have had a major conversion experience because I used to be one of those people who love to read ahead at ever increasing pace to get all the more quickly to the end of the book. Now I discover myself reading ever more slowly so that the book, and its spell over me, will only be broken when I can wait no longer.
I suspect somewhere in there is the key to apocalyptic readings like the ones with which we end the Church year today.
The end of the story makes all the difference to its telling—and even more difference to its living. What looks like a tragedy can be turned around in the last pages so that if we could have known the ending back around page 153 when the heroes were dying like flies we might have felt differently about the whole tale.
That’s the nature of apocalyptic writing: here we are on page 153 and the times are tough but we know that somewhere, chapters ahead, the Author is going to vindicate all our hopes. All we have to do is endure.
And that’s my problem with apocalyptic history: its political stance. Why bother to change the present when God will rewrite the story anyway? All the true believer has to do is endure and keep himself pure and preferably well-armed in a small compound somewhere in Idaho. And I say ‘himself’ because apocalyptic seems a peculiarly masculine viewpoint.
But apocalyptic isn’t the only way of telling today’s story from the prospect of tomorrow. Our year closes today with the future waiting to spring upon us like a trap but it opens tomorrow with prophecy. And prophecy suits me much better. It has promise. The future which prophecy promises is of a piece with the past and the present. And, whatever hints the Author gives us about ultimate endings we can be sure that we’ll only get to them by writing our own pages as we go along. Prophecy makes us all authors of the future and co-authors with God.
So here we are, tonight, our new year’s eve, where the past meets the future, our pens poised to change the world: what will we write.