From unprecedented bushfires over summer to the global spread of a deadly pandemic, 2020 has felt "apocalyptic" to many.
And while the term apocalypse is used often today, it is actually derived from the Greek word for "revelation", and refers to the unveiling of prophecies. But unlike apocalyptic zombie films, religious apocalyptic texts were created not only to scare, but also offer solace.
And as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, some religious scholars say that thinking about the apocalypse could offer everyone — agnostics, atheists and theists alike — some semblance of hope.
"Jesus himself used this type of talk ... he uses very dramatic symbolism about the darkness and earthquakes, and terrible times and signs of trouble before God establishes his rule."
Open a history book and you’ll soon discover that as dire and as difficult as things may seem today, the world has faced much worse in the past. One of the deadliest pandemics occurred between A.D. 249 and 262, when up to 5,000 people in Rome died – per day. Incidentally, while many non-Christians concentrated on saving only themselves back then, it was the Christians who remained and served those who were suffering.
Back in the 1600s, there was a Lutheran German pastor named Martin Rinkart. He found himself ministering in the midst of horrendous famine and disease. At one point, he was the only pastor left in his town and conducted up to 50 funerals in a single day.
Yet, the world may never have remembered Rinkert, if not for him writing this well-known hymn,
Now, Thank We All Our God.
"Now thank we all our God, With heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother’s arms Hath blessed us on our way, With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.”
“O may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us, with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed, and free us from all ills in this world and the next.”
“All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given, The Son, and him who reigns, with them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore; for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.”
Mother Earth is reclaiming herself. For the first time, we as humans have the opportunity to step back and re-evaluate what is truly important in our lives.
God Loves Us and we can overcome -This is a time when many of us are going online, looking for connections with Friends, and Family. This is an opportunity for us to be out there in the public online space, offering what we have.