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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Day After

I had a bad feeling the other night. I was watching the news and they were telling stories about the Middle East. As is usual on the news, numerous talking heads were expounding their theories. Gas will be $5.00 a gallon soon, radical Islamic goals will be implemented in the nations which are now in such upheaval, Israel is at serious risk of invasion, attack, perhaps nuclear bombing, the economies of many states will collapse, governors are Nazis oppressing poor people.... You know, the regular!

The bad feeling? Well, I flashed back to 1983. I was a young man, recently ordained a deacon, on the brink of my career as a priest. I was home for the summer prior to returning for my final year of seminary. The movie, "The Day After," was the most perfect tension creating movie I had ever seen. It was about a nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR. All the information about the hostilities were conveyed on tv reports and radio. So, it was very realistic. It was in the form that bad things ususally are conveyed to us: on the news. I remember saying that once the nukes fell it was almost a relief. The tension of the threat was so great. It was like the line from the movies, "Just shoot me and get it over with!" There is something about unrelenting threats that gets to us. At least those of us who need closure.

I read history. I know that I have lived a life of unparalleled peace and luxury in a time of amazing abundance. I take for granted things that are unimaginable in most places and times. I am soft and certainly have been spoiled by it all. My tolerance for inconvenience is low. Watching the news on Thursday night, I wondered about where it all is headed. I am quite concerned for Israel, and by extension, for us all.

Fortunately, I also know that we have lived through many other threats in recent times. The nuclear war portrayed in "The Day After" was actually a possibility at the time. I was involved with US military men while I lived in Belgium. We watched them build a bomb bunker across the street from our school. Since then we have seen military actions occur several times. Uprisings and government change have occured in eastern Europe and the Middle East. Hurricanes, Sunamis and earthquakes have destroyed lives and cities. Recently North Korea appeared ready to make a terrible mess of things. All that to say, there are lots of times that it gets tense but we make it through.

Over the years I have tried to move away from my nature. My parents called me "Worry Wart" when I was young. As I have aged that moniker was replaced by "you are always negative." My decision has been to worry less and pray more. I think it is our vocation. Of course, most Christians I know are too busy to do much praying. They are too busy to do much of anything related to Jesus and the Gospel. Oopps, see there I go again.

What is happening in our economy is real. What is happening in the Middle East is real. There are real threats and eventually something is going to happen. I think it is important for us TODAY to pray for God's mercy and ask God to give us strength. Today, before the day after, pray and seek God.

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