The Eschaton

The “eschaton” (pronounced “esk’ ka ton’’) is a Greek word in the Bible referring to the end of times. Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet preaching about the imminent end of time and the return of the “son of man.” He uses this word a lot. For me, in these last few days of sabbatical, it is also the end of times. The end of that daily view of the blue Aegean Sea, the end of daily swims in the sea, talking to locals, writing and reflecting about serious things. I am sad to see the time go. Most of all, I am grateful for the time.
I will not even try to enumerate the insights, the learning and the spiritual stirrings such as praying in a 1600 year old church. There were many and you will hear about them in the years ahead. I know that Grace Church has an important place in the Muskogee community. I know that my work in this place is not complete and there are many new directions ahead for all of us.
I have rested and I feel refreshed in ways that I haven’t experienced for many years. Jewish law mandates a day of total rest at the end of each working week (the “Sabbath day”) and a “Jubilee year” at the end of every 50 years. I am thankful that these three months did not have to wait for 50 years of service instead of 20.
But the end of things is also the beginning of things. I look forward to preaching Sunday. I look forward to rolling out a new year of Christian formation, of stewardship, of Sunday school and pastoral care. I look forward to seeing everyone again. For us, this Sunday will be the beginning of things.
I met with an Albanian who had moved to Oklahoma recently. We talked about Greece (another Balkan country) and Albania. He noted that a saying in his country is that “you look like where you live” meaning that when you live in a place for a while, you begin to take on the characteristics of that place. He told me that he now enjoys hunting and fishing and he drives a pickup truck – things he never did in Albania.  Perhaps for me, the pickup truck is next.

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