When I look at the Bible reading assigned for March 29, 2020, my initial reaction was: “Really?” And this was almost a year ago. “Let’s teach kids about the apocalypse, this should be fun.” Now, as fear and panic grip us in what might seem like the end of the world, my reaction is even deeper. If I react this way, even having taken a seminary class on the Book of Revelation, I imagine you are feeling the same way. So, here are some suggestions.
Often, avoidance is a bad thing. However, if you have been using the daily Bible readings from our Sharing God’s Story @ Home inserts (currently free, see download link here and below), you will notice that the readings (starting on March 23rd) focus on Mark 13 and similar, the scary stuff. It’s important that we do so to help everyone read everything in context. However, if you are reading to small children, find something else to read. Not only can these readings be scary, but they are also confusing. They are beyond abstract and will be difficult for our younger disciples to understand. If you are using a children’s story Bible, it is highly unlikely to find this there, so pick other stories. If you would still like to read from a more standard Bible, I might suggest breaking up 1 John 4:7-21 and 5:1-5, and the most beautiful parts of Revelation, much of chapters 21 and 22:1-5.
If you (and your household) are older, confront this head-on. You will hear (or did hear) from this chapter on Sunday and you will likely encounter similar passages, conversations, and fears. But, read with a few things in mind:
- At the beginning, apocalypse didn’t mean the end of the world. It means “revelation” and it was a peek behind the curtain of reality of what God’s up to. The points? God is in charge. Evil/suffering exists. God will triumph.
- These passages were written to people who were suffering. The good news: God is in charge and will triumph. Suffering is temporary.
- These passages were also written to people who didn’t care about loving God and loving others. The message: God does care, so act accordingly.
- Bad things already happened. The temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. The people were scattered. We often look at prophecies in the Bible having at least two fulfillments, a past and a future. These warnings in Mark 13 happened a long time ago. But bad things still happen. Jesus has promised to return in the future and get rid of suffering once and for all.
Faith not Fear
So, what are you afraid of? What are the other members of your family or group afraid of? Talk about this, even if you don’t have nice and tidy answers. Know that the best answer is to trust that God is in charge, and God will triumph (a look ahead at Jesus’ death and resurrection). That’s simple, but it can be very difficult. You might still be scared. That’s okay. God loves you no matter what.
Just keep loving, keep praying, and keep holding on.
Peace be with you.
Gregory Rawn (Publisher)
When you download the free Sharing God’s Story @ Home devotional insert, linked below, you will have a resource to guide daily devotional time. Using this resource and your own creativity, design devotions for yourself and your family or friends. I will be providing this resource for free on a weekly basis, so check back at this blog each week!
I hope this will be helpful for you in the days ahead.
Daily Bible Readings online (Here you can subscribe to our daily Bible readings calendar so that you can see them on your electronic calendar.)