The End of What


I do not know the source, though I think it was an American, who said, “It may not be the end times, but it rhymes with it.” I have probably misremembered the quote and changed it completely in my mind. But the statement holds true for all of the times after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. We live in the end times, and though the times I live in may not be the last of the last days, they do, nevertheless, “rhyme” with them.

The Beast is always lurking about, placing his mark where he will, demanding a false loyalty and a false worship.

The woman and her child are always persecuted, driven into the wilderness. The marytrs are always beneath the throne of God crying out and praying. And even though the cities to which the seven letters were written have largely fallen into ruin, the Church remains and the promises still are true. Each promise is to “him who overcomes.”

We are at December 31, the end of something. Mostly it means forgetting to write the correct year for about a week or two when filling out a check. But there are larger issues, the issues that rhyme with those of the end.

We sometimes strategize our lives, thinking to do this now, and do that later. Occasionally everything works out. But inevitably if what we have put off to later is “doing the right thing,” time will become an enemy and the “right thing” will always stay a day away.

Things seem so clear when we see them in someone else’s life or in a book, or a movie. We can see that they should choose now, or jump here, or whatever. Our own lives are never quite so clear.

I have known many clever men in my life. Many of them had responsibility for large things. It was often the case that these clever men in charge of large things sought to finesse the outcome of events, to massage the truth, to avoid scandal. Thus far in my 52 years of life I have almost never seen this work. It is far better to simply do the right thing the first time and suffer the consequences, whatever they may be. The consequences of the right thing, done for the right reasons are usually far more easily borne than the complications and inevitable consequences of our clever machinations.

Christ said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” This was good advice to the disciples and remains good advice to us, though it be simple and frightfully straightforward. In my life and yours, as each day unfolds, do the right thing. Before God it will be well, and more than this we cannot ask.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





4 responses to “The End of What”

  1. fatherstephen Avatar

    The photo is of Roman ruins in Colchester, England’s “oldest city.” They seemed fitting.

  2. Alice C. Linsley Avatar
    Alice C. Linsley

    Thank you, Father Stephen, for this word. I needed to hear this today and am taking it to heart. God bless you.

  3. Fatherstephen Avatar

    May God give you grace. Thank you.

  4. […] FR. STEPHEN.. “It may not be the end times, but it rhymes with it.” …. (fatherstephen) […]

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  1. Greetings, Father Stephen, Thank you so much for this reflection and all of the tremendous amount of work you have…

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