The End is the Beginning
Yesterday, while on retreat, my colleagues and I hiked from the center we are staying to the Pacific coast. It was just over 12 miles, and involved a number of transitions in evelation, environment and atmosphere. Some sections were all up hill, and taxing on the heart, strength and lungs. Others were downhill, and hard on aging knees. Always, there was a sense of community, a sense of being with men I trust and love as brothers. As we crested the last hill, coming into the light of an autumn sunset, the distant sound of air moving across grass and a distant rumble of waves told us we were near "the end" of our walk.
The hot shower and dinner after we got back to the center reinforced that sensation.
As we conclude the book of the Revelation, and make preparations to turn back to Matthew, I am eminently aware of what endings mean in this life as we strive to find meaning in this portion of existence; they mean new beginnings are what always comes next in God's way.
That is important. As we enter into the books of the prophets, we need to remember that their primary message is to first name the end of things...and the point to the time when God reenters history and proclaims restoration.
This is the promise that at the end of every peregrination, in Christ, there is a promise of new beginnings. That is the real promise of what endings mean to us in our life in faith.