Meditation for Sept. 18 (Mark 13:28 ff. Originally Published in ICON).
Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan, Thrissur
Here we have a question of reading and interpreting signs in nature.
God reveals Himself through history and through nature. Both are His creations.
Questions of end time were placed before Jesus many times. On one of those occasions Jesus started His reply with the statement that, 'one need to read the messages of nature'.
Fig tree gives fresh leaves just before the summer and then it gives fruit. Jesus picked this example to reply to the question. Any one who wants to see the message from God needs to look in to history or nature. When Amos was walking among his sycamore tree garden, he found a basket of fruits rotten as the servants may have forgotten to collect them the previous day. God asked him to see it as a message from God (Amos 8:1 ff.). What all God created will have a message to proclaim. The Psalmist says "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge" (Ps. 19:1, 2).
Everything God created in this world was created with a purpose. In the creation narrative, God's purpose of creating light is explained (Gen. 1: 14, 15). Further it is said, He created everything "each according to its kind..." (Gen. 1:21), which may mean 'each according to its nature and purpose'. Humans were created to "till and guard" the earth. Fulfilling the purpose itself will be message (Matthew 7:16). Earth (in a larger context, I must say the whole universe) is the arena where God's love for his creation is manifested. Each creation should give out a message of this love either as a positive act or as a warning. If the warning is not heard, then it brings catastrophe as a consequence. God can not be blamed for the consequence as it is not God who brings the consequence, rather it is the one who does not either give out the message that is supposed to be giving or one who does not listen to the message from nature and history (look at what happened to the fig tree that did not have fruit but had fresh leaves (Matthew 21: 18-21). When there is a message from nature about the kind of situation prevails, creatures other than humans, in the world listens to the change and tries to survive accepting the change. But humans, on the one hand doesn't proclaim the message of God's love and on the other hand fails to listen to the message of God given by God created history and nature (Jer. 8:7; 18: 15 etc.). Ezekiel 12: 5 says, "Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house".
People in Kerala have been complaining that every year summer becomes hotter and hotter. UN sponsored Climate Summit held on September 23rd 2014 in New York with 13 nations including US, Brazil, Germany and Zambia participating reported that by 2050 the weather pattern will drastically shift with drought, hurricanes, increased volcanic activity and landslides. The Summit also warns that climate change is the "single biggest risk to the world economy today". The melting glaziers cause global warming and rise in sea water level. Warnings of nature in this direction have been there since long back. We failed to listen the testimony of the nature. There was a message from the tree and its fruit (of course it is put in the mouth of God by Bible). But Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree that was not supposed to be for food. They failed to listen to the message of the tree and its fruit. That caused human going out of better relations with God, with nature and with fellow humans to make their lives miserable. We all know that it was simply greed or over consumption of resources that caused the Global Economic Crisis that started in 2008. Many of the countries that were affected have not come out of it yet. We did not quite learn from it though were careful after that for few years. Rather again we have fallen in to the culture of luxury and lavish spending. Those church buildings and associated structures in Kerala itself will tell us the story. Kerala has been famous for steady married life and strong bond in family. But now with the kind of fast forward life style and crazy run after material prosperity and success, relationships are getting disturbed and divorce rate is escalating. Even those religions who are supposed to be preaching and professing peace are spreading but hate messages and promoting terrorism.
Of course the end time many not come tomorrow, but end of peoples' lives together, end of happiness, end of peaceful living, end of healthy growing up of young generations may come earlier than we think. Listen to the message of nature and see the immanent danger that is to be avoided. God wants us to look in to world around us for a life of peace and love, not to have a premature end. I wish all the members of ICON blessed Onam Season.