On February 27, just off the coast of Maule, Chile, an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale rocked our planet.  Literally, rocked us on our axis shortening the day by three seconds. Immediately tsunami warnings were issued for the entire Pacific, particularly for the “Ring of Fire” – so named because of its volcanic activity.  It es an earthquake of far greater power than the one that ravaged Haiti.  Only its epicenter being away from a densely populated metropolitan area and tougher building codes kept its death toll to less mind boggling levels.

Chile has asked for help, and so it should.  Tragedies like this remind us of our common humanity and our interdependence despite our diversity.

The disaster mongers are spinning theories of even greater potential destruction.  The general public has voices raising the question, “Is the 2012 end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar really a possibility? Were the Mayans right?”

I don’t know.

Many biblical Christians point to earthquakes as one of the signs that Christ will return and the world as we know it will end.  Being a Christian who believes the Bible to be God’s Word, I don’t disagree.  However, I am more focused on what my own denomination’s doctrinal statement indicates. “These signs and others have appeared at various times and in varying degrees to alert us and to keep us vigilant.”  They are part of “the movement of history toward the fulfillment of the purpose of God.”

What is the purpose of a spiritual sign?

To get our attention and to point us in a direction.

Personally, I believe something Jesus said: “No one knows the hour or the time.” xxx  He was adding a more specific purpose to a sign–to focus you on preparing. For Christians preparing doesn’t mean packing your bag to be ready for the rescue copters (or angels). It means to take care of your earthly business with a sense of deliberateness and urgency.  Reconcile with your neighbor. Resolve your sin issues. Fulfill your calling to help reconcile people to God, inviting them to accept his offer of a personal relationship that gives you new life.

Instead of wasting time in explanation or speculation, we need to get about the business of loving God and loving our neighbor to the max.

(c) 2010 by Stephen Dunn


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