Apocalypse Please (Unveiled Hope)

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Growing up we didn’t have a lot of DVDs.

The first DVDs we ever bought were “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Recess: School’s Out”.
We didn’t even own a DVD player…
We were just so excited to even have DVDs in the house (and that they had weird mini-games on them) that my sister and I didn’t even mind we could only watch them on our 1999 Windows ME desktop computer.

As we got older our DVD collection grew and so did our taste which, I can only speak for myself, had some rough years. It mostly consisted of superhero movies and disaster movies.
“The Day After Tomorrow” was one of them.

I couldn’t tell you why I liked it.
Was it the bad CGI wolves, the early Jake Gyllenhaal, or just the idea of living through these sort of disasters?
There’s a triumph of the human spirit element to many of these movies, a man against nature aspect I’m sure I found appealing at 13 and it wasn’t something I had just found in “TDAT” (as us fans called it).
I really loved “Dante’s Peak” too, with Pierce Brosnan, and “Volcano” with Tommy Lee Jones. (Remember when volcano movies were in?)
(No?)
(Maybe I just had a thing for volcano movies..)

The last disaster movie I saw was “2012” (in 2009).
Remember that one? (Really feels like they should’ve waited 3 years to release it.)
It was supposed to be the disaster movie to end all disaster movies, and for me it did.
I don’t remember liking or disliking it, just that it was there and afterwards I was apparently done with disaster movies (other than an ironic group trip to see Nicholas Cage’s “Left Behind”).

Right now in 2020 the film “Contagion” is the most rented movie on AppleTV as we find ourselves in a bit of a real life disaster of our own. Some have been calling such a time “The Apocalypse”. They may be half kidding but they wouldn’t be completely wrong.
Rather I would call such a thing “An Apocalypse”.

Apocalypse comes from a greek word meaning to reveal or unveil. It has a lot more to do with seeing what was behind something all along or seeing things in a new light and gaining a new perspective than it does the world ending.

(Wait really????)

(Yes really.)

(But what about judgement and volcanos and plagues and ice ages and Nicholas Cage????)

More like something happens that you will never see the world the same way again. Sometimes it takes a new context to see things as they really are, it takes a disruption, a new setting, even grief.
What’s revealed in a breakup?
Is it that we need to change?
Our flaws?
Hopefully after grieving or mourning a relationship we find ourselves able to see clearly what was behind our actions which can lead us to positive change.
This is a personal Apocalypse.
Another good word for something like this is an epiphany.

In this time of COVID-19, life feels like it’s on hold.

To be honest (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this),
I am often not sure what day it is.
It can easily feel like we’re missing out on so much living.
There are so many places I want to go that aren’t open.
There are so many concerts I wish I could go to, but what would that even look like right now?
Days can go by and I can start to regret that I didn’t get to go on that trip in March that I was excited about (like it’s my fault when it obviously wasn’t in my control anyway).

I find myself in a trap of thinking life is on hold and I’ll be happy when it just starts back up again. (What does that reveal about me?)

Life is on hold?

No this is life.

It’s happening right now.

It’s not the way you thought it was going to be and it’s not bound by the same old systems or expectations.

It’s been shaken.

Let us not get stuck in missing what might have been, we’ll find ourselves missing out on the life that is happening now.
Don’t let hope go by the wayside because we’re caught up mourning what might have been.

But what about when the whole world is grieving?

This is where we find ourselves now.

In this time of COVID-19 People are dying.
We don’t know when it will end.
Governments and systems that we’ve had faith in don’t seem to be able to agree on what help should look like.
Some people’s hope and frankly their religion, is politics. However, no matter where you fall ideologically, we’re seeing it’s limits.
There’s a passage in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament that says this,

“All that can be shaken will be shaken, and only the unshakable will remain.”

Times like these reveal undersides of how our society works.
How things can be so easily mismanaged and people can be thrown by the wayside.
It can be so easy to be discouraged and lose hope when I see my city has the third most COVID-19 cases in the nation as we mourn our world and those lost.

My dad reminded me a few weeks back of that Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers.

The helpers come out in times like this.
Who they are is revealed.
I find hope when I see my friends planting urban gardens for everyone in their community.

I find hope when I hear about friends choosing to shelter the homeless in their own home.

I find hope when I find out friends were able to donate laptops for schooling to families with so many kids it would make your head spin.

But we’re not to stop there.

Friends we have more resources and connections than we think.
You need hope, look to those, and once you have that hope, join them in the way only you can.
It’s not just, “see there are the helpers”, it’s “now go and do like-wise”.
We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but in doing so we deny evil it’s last word and acknowledge there is good working even in this.

I pray all of this brings folks back to our simplest calling, to love God and love the world and others as yourself, all made in God’s image.
Let us mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. Let us not turn away from what is going on in the world right now but face it and feel it. Let us not lose hope that things can be made right and join in that good work.

Experience Hope,

Drew

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