The Making of:“Something Big is About to Happen (Wish I knew what it is!). A behind the scenes look.

Since I posted a simple blog titled “Something Big is About to Happen (Wish I knew what it is!),” I’ve had a lot of response from readers, and one friend, Chris Fabry, asked me to come on his nationally syndicated radio show for an hour.

My blog was written on the spur of the moment as a way for me to process my own thoughts about the current world situation, and more significantly, the local situation on Orcas Island where I live.

I would summarize the blog by quoting an excerpt: “We are on the cusp of something and I do not know what it is.  I sense God is about to do something really big, but I do not know what it is.”

When Chris asked me to come on the show I answered this way. “Chris. The point of what I wrote is that I DON’T know what God is up to! I wouldn’t want you stuck with an hour of dead air!”

He responded, “I was thinking more of asking you WHY? What evidence do you have that God is doing something big?”

I answered, “That’s the thing~ it is a feeling more than anything else-maybe a revelation?”

If you are interested, here is my reflection on “the making of the blog.”

Just before writing the blog I had read W.H. Auden’s September 1, 1939. Auden wrote this when he learned that Germany had invaded Poland and WWII was about to begin.

Here are a few of Auden’s haunting observations, which seem to me applicable to today.
September 1, 1939

“I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night.

Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good.

Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.”

I followed Auden by reading W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming,” which he wrote as Europe was recovering from the devastations of WWI.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spritus MundiTroubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleepwere vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

The two poems taken together, are reminders of the chaos and seeming hopelessness of our human situation,” But each also tucks in a little hope.

Auden refers to “Ironic points of light flashing out wherever the Just exchange their messages.  And then vows he wishes to be among these points of light, “May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.”

Yeats finds his hope in the second coming of Jesus, an invasion he believes will change history as much as Jesus’ first coming did.

Immediately after reading these two poems I wrote the blog, but a week’s worth of contemplations on other matters led up to it.

It began the previous Sunday morning when I woke early and read the headline news about more messiness in the Middle East.  The intractability and impossibility of the Middle East chaos often lead me to feelings of hopelessness, but before I could go there it occurred to me, “God is about to something big and new in the Middle East; something that will surprise all of us.”

A sense of hope flowed over me as I was reminded that God, after all, is in control.

A few days later I was preparing for an advent sermon for our series on “Handel’s Messiah and The Secrets of the Christmas universe.”

This week’s lyric is from Malachi, “But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming? For he is like a refiner’s fire and he will purify.”

That humans need purification is captured in the classic words of Tallulah Bankhead, “I’m as pure as the driven slush.” In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus reminds us of the problem with our impurity, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” That we are resistant to being purified was captured in Augustine’s reflections on his life of rebellion against God, “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.”

I thought about the contrast between the darkness of the Messiah’s lyrics with the cheerful lightness of lyrics in Christmas songs like. “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, Right down Santa Claus Lane.”

This frothy glibness about Christmas stands in stark contrast to the words Handel draws on from Haggai. “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.”

This sense of impending Messianic judgment probably triggered another thought captured on this excerpt from the blog, “I hear a voice in my head, I know it is Howard Beale from the classic movie Network ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!’ But it seems like it could just as easily be the voice of God.”

Jesus first coming was as a child in a manger who grew up to announce good news. Jesus second coming will be as judge of all the nations and all people. This return is good news for the faithful, but bad news for anyone whose life is not centered on God and obedience to God’s commandments.

Malachi gets rather specific about God’s complaints: “1) I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers. 2) “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 3) Then Malachi recites the most grievous violations of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness, saying God has a complaint “Against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.” 4) Things have gotten so bad that people no longer know the difference between good and evil. After God’s refining fire Malachi reports, “3: 18 THEN you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

So if you read the blog, you know it started with comments about my friend from the sixties and the “Occupy movement.” Those of who remember the sixties can see obvious similarities and vast differences with today’s protests. My sixties friend is almost sentimental about the sixties protests and views the Occupy movement of a return to the good old days.

The point of my blog? As tempting as it is to look back fondly on the past, we need to live in the present. Few people are discerning enough to understand what is happening in the present and our challenge is to try to get God’s perspective and then live accordingly.

A few things I know. We’re living in a a low dishonest decade. The center cannot hold. We are lost in a haunted wood and are like children afraid of the night who have never been happy or good. We are called to show an affirming flame. (As my friend Kendall Ruth put it, “we must love each other or die.”) The hope of all mankind was born in Bethlehem and will one day reappear. Better be ready.

(Image=Life in the Gyre, Valerie O’Flynn)

Posted in Staublog in December 2, 2011 by | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to The Making of:“Something Big is About to Happen (Wish I knew what it is!). A behind the scenes look.

  1. kendall on December 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

    And we must love one another or die

  2. Pat Childress on December 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm


    I think something is going to happen, too! On 6/7/08 our daughter
    took a picture of a fireworks in Norfolk, VA where you can clearly see a picture of Jesus, a lion’s head, an angel, etc. A friend pointed out to me that Jesus first came as a lamb & that He’s coming back as a lion. Then in May 2009 I started writing an abortion phil. because of thoughts that just came to me. It’s been reviewed & approved by Gibbs Law Firm & I’ve been sending it out so people can use/share it however they feel led so people can know the truth as to why abortion is wrong. Why none of us had words for what we’ve been arguing ever since Roe vs. Wade until now, I don’t know, we just all knew it was wrong.Matt.10;26, Mark4:22, & I Cor.4:5. But why did these thoughts come to me? I asked God to help me come up w/some way to start out my philosophy & the word ‘absurd’ came to mind: We all know how absurd it is to be able to end a life one minute but not the next, as in partial birth abortion. But I thought, some people do it so they must not think it’s absurd so I decided to look up the definition. I honestly thought it just meant ridiculous & was amazed to read that it means to be so clearly untrue or unreasonable as to be laughable or ridiculous & untrue is contrary to fact or truth so right there we know abortion is wrong because it goes against things that can be proven. If you’re interested in reading it, I can e-mail it to you. It’s 9 pgs. long. Just let me know. Thanks, Pat

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