Not one stone will be left upon another;
all will be thrown down.
Many will say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,
and nation will rise against nation…
This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.
—from Mark 13.1-8
When dread for the world comes over me,
when Jesus’ end-times nightmares
sound more familiar than strange,
I recall he says these things
facing his crucifixion,
recorded by his followers
reeling at the destruction of the temple.
He is not foretelling the future:
he’s saying what he sees. It’s what I see.
Things will get worse. Worlds may end.
But this is not the final act:
this agony is our birth canal,
as we are torn from what we have known,
not to an end, but to a new beginning.
The world becomes something more.
Bereft of all but our umbilical love and courage
we trust not in some surprise that comes later
but in a mystery that is greater than we can see,
a deep life that enfolds us and unfolds with us.
Love is the womb and love the breast,
and love is the everlasting arms.
Our becoming will come with great loss
but it is not unbecoming of us who are,
after all, creatures of light.