Will the stars literally fall from heaven when Christ returns?

Monday Musings for March 02, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

I’ve sung the song My Lord, What a Morning for decades now. It’s given me comfort — but no angst... not unless I contemplate the source of its lyrics. This is a “negro spiritual” ... which is a sanitized way of saying that, although these words are words of hope, they were forged in the crucible of cruelty... and the USA has never stopped reaping the whirlwind for its sin of slavery.

Let’s look at this song’s lyrics.

My Lord, what a morning / My Lord what a morning / My Lord, what a morning / When the stars begin to fall

You’ll hear the trumpet sound / To wake the nations underground / Looking to my God’s right hand / When the stars begin to fall

You’ll hear the sinner moan / To wake the nations underground / Looking to my God’s right hand / When the stars begin to fall

You’ll hear the Christian shout / To wake the nations underground / Looking to my God’s right hand / When the stars begin to fall

The hymn is sometimes called When the Stars Begin to Fall... and it’s these falling stars that evoke the coming of Christ in Scripture. Now, his coming is dear to us in America... but it is unimaginably dear to those who are suffering around the world — many suffering worse fates than the slaves of antebellum America.

But what about those of us who are free and prospering? Should we concern ourselves Jesus’ coming? ... I mean... he comes when he comes — and there’s nothing we can do about it... right?

No... that’s not right.

If free will is a real thing (and you know I think free will is a real thing), then we can delay Jesus’ return through faithlessness and inaction. You see, there is a tipping point... an optimum number of people who must be saved before Christ returns.

But “optimum” is a tricky concept... because it involves a ratio between the saved and the lost. But let’s not focus on the lost for a minute. There is a number that must be saved — and that number matches the number in the Lamb’s Book of Life! So why sweat the details?

We sweat the details because Christ is not the one who advances the Great Commissionwe are! Unfortunately, we fail in our duties pretty continually. So, since we are the ones who must win people to Christ and make disciples of all nations, Jesus is not responsible for the date of his return! But he is responsible for the details of his return — and I am curious: what will that be like? Will the stars fall from the heavens... literally?

I doubt that even our slaves believed that. Sure, apocalyptic language signals apocalyptic changes — but rather than changes in physics there will be changes in governance. So, when the stars begin to fall — when Jesus comes back to rule and to reign — then slavery will be gone forever... and every African American who rests in Jesus will be free to forgive their country.

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