Jesus is describing the coming of the reign of God, and about this he says, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Mark 13:8
Signs not just of life, but of a seismic shift in life.
A true new beginning, but a completely dangerous one. No birth is routine, no birth is safe, for either participant. Either or both can die in this process of bringing forth new life.
Nor is it safe for the father! In the ideal world, he is as worried as anyone else, completely invested in the outcome, praying for the mother *and* the child.
Heaven forbid the father is forced to decide, forced to make a choice between one or the other, forced to decide which life continues and which ends.
No. Birth is anything BUT safe. For anyone.
Including the birth of the reign of God in our midst.
And we, as followers of Jesus, are part of this birth, this dangerous process of witnessing God’s new life being born among us.
The question for us is this – Do we see ourselves as midwives, holding the hand of the mother, comforting the father, being present as God brings new possibilities to life right in front of us?
Or do we see ourselves merely as undertakers, waiting in the wings for the inevitable bad news, assuming that the danger will prove overwhelming, assuming that life is too fragile, assuming that all we can really do is prepare to bury the dead, and hope that we can avoid being caught up in the distress?
There *IS* Good News here. God’s reign will come! Is coming! Right now! Among us! Among US!
We have no choice about that. God has already decided.
But we do have a choice about our response. And let’s be honest: there is no risk free choice! There’s danger whichever way we go. And we’d better not kid ourselves either: not to decide is to decide!
There really are only two choices we can make.
Which will it be?
Oh. And by the way. Here comes another cramp….