Updated: Feb 26, 2021
The growing din may well be God knocking. Are we listening?
Living in a townhouse, it happens all the time: A muffled noise, emanating from nowhere. For a while, I heard a scratchy-tumbley noise in my walls but couldn't find the source. Now I'm pretty sure it's a critter living in my attic. As long s/he doesn't raid my fridge or cuddle up, we're good. Sometimes, it's a distinctive knock. "Is that the door?" Often, there's nobody there. The other night, however, I ignored a faint tap until it grew loud, and was surprised to find an actual human on my front porch. Likewise, the ever-growing din of mutant viruses, wacky weather, financial crises, civil unrest, increased violence, political shenanigans, and the resulting impacts like angst, outrage and isolation seems to beg the question: What's that noise?
My classroom has four doors: Two on a well-traveled hallway and two on an adjacent classroom. I'm also next to a utility room and the girls' busy bathroom. Beyond the oft-rowdy youngsters, I hear noises all the time--including obvious knocks. Almost daily, I answer to find the hallway empty. A prank, a groaning water pipe, a kicked wall, a dropped book...Who knows?
The other day, some of my students snuck into the vacant classroom next door, rapping lightly on the walls at random. Later, they laughingly showed up to confess they were just having fun. We all chuckled at the benign mischief.
The current noisy knocking is anything but giggle-worthy.
Memes exhausted 2020 as a singularly bad year that would be neatly wrapped up on December 31. We expected the promise of a vaccine and new leadership would herald a better 2021.So far...uh...not so much.
If you're not spiritually oriented, you may think...
Secular solutions (in short supply so far) don't preclude the existence of a Higher Power above it all. That's a good thing.
The admittedly weird and foreboding book of Revelation says, Jesus stands at the door and knocks. In the original Greek, this translates a little bit like, "Having stood here forever, I am currently knocking." I interpret this as Jesus banging on the door relentlessly, waiting for us to answer. Indeed, he has been knocking forever, so crazy is he about us all.
SIDEBAR: Dylan is Christian, forced underground by unparalleled public resistance. Here’s a great Rolling Stone article about this remarkable, Noble prize-winning artist.
The book of Revelation is actually aimed at several really-naughty-wayward and waning churches. This verse specifically addresses the folks of Laodicea with a strongly worded call to repent. Uggh. That word! Sounds so churchy and gross. Yet, religion aside, the word packs a powerful punch that's quite relevant to anyone of us. The Oxford Dictionary puts it this way:
Repent: To feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin.
This is usually accompanied by a definite course correction. A change of behavior.
If you don't like the word "repent," you probably hate "sin."
You're in good company. God hates sin, too! So much so that he says sinning gets you the death penalty of a very permanent variety. Still, because he loves us so much, he offers everyone a complete and eternal pardon.
Jesus is knocking, saying. "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." Again, sounds awfully religious and not-so-mildly-bizarre. I almost hate to type the words. Yet can we continue to ignore the knocking?
Mind you, the promise isn't that we answer the door and Jesus takes our inventory then scolds and spanks us. Actually, he just wants to be with us...
"Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends." (Rev. 3:20)
Do the otherwise foreboding passages of Revelation and elsewhere mean Jesus is coming back next Thursday at 11:30 in a blaze of glory, on a white horse, in the clouds, and all that to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim., Rev. 19, plus, plus, plus)?
I do know that history books, The Bible, and most family trees are full of stories of humans failing to heed cosmic warning shots to clean up their acts. When they did, things went better. And when they didn't, things went badly. Really badly.
Let's heed the knock and answer the door and have a cozy sit-down dinner with the God of the Universe. Before it's too late.
Love and hugs (still in a hazmat),