Day 26: ROLL(OUT)
Revelation 22:18-19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; 19 if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Everybody’s bidding good riddance to 2016, ready to roll on out and into a fresh, clean new year.
But things don’t look too promising for 2017, either.
Unless, of course, we really are hoping for an apocalypse.
Apocalypse means ‘uncovering.’ It’s not necessarily about explosive destruction, but rather about a revealing of the true realities underneath the supposed powers of the world.
I think that’s happening, and I think it’s painful and necessary.
Hope isn’t optimism, and it isn’t certainty. It is, like Rebecca Solnit says, admitting that we do not know the future. Confessing that we don’t know. Saying out loud that all our assumptions were wrong. Owning up to all the ways that we have been wrong, that we have been overconfident, that we have relied on our own power and safety and comfort instead of cultivating curiosity, humility, and openness.
I once got criticized for using the phrase “I don’t know” as a refrain in a sermon. I was a new preacher, and I probably didn’t wield the phrase very skillfully. But, years later, I am still committed to being that kind of honest in my preaching and in my life. I don’t know when the world ends, I don’t know how, I don’t know why. I don’t know what powers spin what consequences, or why god makes it to rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. I don’t know a lot. Sometimes that opens me up to a shit-ton of mansplaining after I confess it, and sometimes it opens the door for someone else to say “Thank God. I was so tired of having to pretend I knew when I didn’t.”
Jesus himself said that he didn’t know when the world would end, and that we really shouldn’t waste our time thinking about it.
Here’s where I think I’ll anchor my hope, these days: Hope in the things I do not know. Hope in the mystery. Hope in the irrational, illogical, inbreaking of something else. Hope in tucked away corners, like mangers and forgotten towns. Hope in totally unforeseen angles on old, old problems. Hope in reversals, restorations and resurrections. Hope in ways made where there was no way. Hope in a God who would choose to relinquish even the privilege of being DIVINE to be with us.