[Again, not poetry, but does have nature image. Apropos, as we think about "time" in the start of a new year. And as we think about disconcerting changes world-wide. Things that you see have been going on for decades, yet...]
from Matthew 24
- As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives [in the week leading up to His death], the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
- Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
- All these are the beginning of birth pains... [Luke 21: "the end will not come immediately..."]
- "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people... the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
- "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come*...
- "If those days [near the end] had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible...
- "See, I have told you ahead of time. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
- "Immediately after the distress of those days "`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' [How often have we already lived through solar & lunar eclipses, meteors, etc.?]
- "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. [Luke 21: "Now when these things begin happening, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."]
- "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door....
- "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
- "No one knows about that day or hour*, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father... Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come*."
- ---New International Version
*We do not know, and it's always risky to predict. Self-proclaimed prophets have repeatedly make fools of themselves, particularly through the 19th and 20th Centuries. It is worth noting, though, that the Gospel has gone throughout the world.
Also, 2015 & 2016 had very interesting, bright planetary conjunctions, multiple times. This happened in the years leading up to Christ's first coming, His birth. This time around, Venus, the brightest of planets, was involved several times, which is was not in the years before His birth.
Finally, always worth remembering, each of us could face our personal end at any time and need to "keep watch."