Recognizing the “signs of the times” depends on so many things - eyes that see, ears that hear, a heart open to all that’s holy in our midst.
Largely, reading the signs depends on your connections – the other people in your life, what you read and listen to, what you believe, for heaven’s sake!
So how about hanging out with God? God is never absent, always seeking you (whether or not you are seeking God). Take a moment. Open mind and heart. Listen. Learn to recognize the signs of the holy in all times.
"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls."
So many ways to study the Bible, so little time! Today's passage raises the hairs on our heads, whether or not we feel they are being watched over! We could go to a Bible dictionary or Bible commentary. We could study about the times when this passage was written, to better understand its message.
Or we could turn to the method of Lectio Divina. I prefer to think of the Bible as a living book, always having a message for me personally on any given day. What does this passage say to or about you? Who are you in the story? Ever been falsely accused? Do these words frighten you, and why?
Maybe there’s another Bible passage to bring you comfort: “Take up the whole armor of God...” (Ephesians 6:13). Make friends with this book. Approach it with an open heart and, prayerfully, and you will see what it has to say to you today.
Lead me Lord. Lead me in thy righteousness.
Make thy way plain before my sight. Amen.
Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Before you go, take another moment. Breathe deeply of the unconditional love, strength, compassion, and courage that God brings.
Then go to be the hands and feet of the Lord in your world – no matter how big or small. Make your life a “sign of the times,” a sign of joy and hope for each new day.
You can’t do it alone. That’s the key. But God is always there to help if you are aware and reach out for God's hand.
You’ll see the signs everywhere.