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End Times

End Times

“’But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.’” – Luke 9:27

A pewter sky soft with clouds cups the burning leaves of the maple in my neighbor’s yard. All the leaves are falling. I am reminded that there is no defense against the inevitable appearance of the empty branches and monochrome landscape of winter. The cold is coming, and so are the shortest of days.

In this mood I can also acknowledge that the winter of my life, that time when productivity begins to wane, is also just around the corner. The burning passions, the great ideas, the places where I need to be and the things I need to do will all fall away someday, leaving me soft and vague as cloud.

There are so many heroic efforts I could make to slow this process down. I could monitor what I eat and drink, my body’s chemistry, my mental acuity and so many other things, in hopes of having some control. But nothing will stay the shift of seasons for ever.

And it doesn’t matter, not really. We belong to a different reality, one we are powerless to refute. We are held in the arms of a God who loves us irrevocably. Each of us has a place in the scheme of things, a place that does not depend at all on our doing or our knowing, and each of us has a name that is unique in all the created worlds.

It is hard to understand this. But each psalm we sing, each prayer, each breath we expend in the praise of the Holy, opens the eyes of our hearts. Knowing bypasses the mind and unfurls tenderly into all the spaces of our souls. Incredibly enough, this is not something that takes a lot of focus and it just keeps growing over time.

This gives me the hope that even when I am as vague as the pewter clouds of this poignant fall afternoon I will know that I am all right; I am treasured. In other words, this gives me the hope that before I die I will see the kingdom of God.

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Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries.

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