Take my mom for example. [Shhh, don’t tell her I talked about her.] She has this peculiar habit, as she’s riding down the road, of reading signs...out loud!
“Knoxville 120 miles”
“Cracker Barrel next exit”
“See Rock City”
And this doesn’t happen just on the interstates. US and State Highways work just fine too...
“Oh, look there, Turkey Creek Mall...”
“Hey there’s Messiah Lutheran Church...Did I ever tell you that time I went to that Lutheran Church in Alaska?”On and on she goes, reading the signs.
Apparently this is nothing new. People have always looked to and sought to interpret signs. The people of God, for example, were always looking for a word or sign from the Lord. They looked for evidence of God’s favor and approval. They looked for signs that would assure them that God was there, that God's love was upon them, and that God would lead them and keep them in relationship with him. There are countless stories of God using signs, and people seeking signs. For example, scripture tells us that after the flood, God placed his bow in the sky as a sign of his everlasting covenant with Noah and every living creature. Elsewhere in scripture, Moses, keeping the flock of his father, Jethro, there in the wilderness at Horeb, sees a most peculiar sign, a bush that is ablaze, but is not being burned up. The burning bush was God's attention-getting sign that called Moses to turn aside and listen. Later in life, Moses would lead his people out of captivity to the promised land. And on that journey, God provided a sign of his presence and guidance in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night.
“It will seem like all hell has broken loose—
sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar
and everyone all over the world in a panic,
the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom,
the powers-that-be quaking.
And then—then!—they’ll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style—
a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet.
Stand tall with your heads high.
Help is on the way!” (Luke 21:25-28, The Message)
“We apparently have the word ‘apocalypse’ all wrong. In its root meaning, it’s not about destruction or fortune-telling; it’s about revealing...”
[In other words] “Apocalyptic shows us what we’re not seeing.”
[and] “...apocalyptic has a way of curing deafness and educating the mind.” 1David Dark goes on to write,
“Given our tendency to see and hear what we want to see and hear
while disregarding the rest, we need whatever we can get
in the way of an awakening.” 2
1 David Dark, Everyday Apocalypse, (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2002), 10.
2 Ibid., 13
3 Attribution to Luther has been disputed. Source uncertain.