Bad Moon Rising–or Not

I’m not the only one who is humming the tune and muttering the text of that old Creedence Clearwater hit “Bad Moon Rising.” The lyrics written by John Fogerty are once again the commentary of choice on these turbulent days:

I see a bad moon arising. / I see trouble on the way./ I see earthquakes and lightnin’. / I see bad times today. CHORUS: Don’t go around tonight, / Well, it’s bound to take your life, / There’s a bad moon on the rise.

This is the mood of our time.

For decades preachers have declared the decline of morals; few listened. For almost as long diplomats have described the impending clash of civilizations; nobody cared. Since 9/11 politicians have warned about the energy crisis; we packed up the SUV anyway and drove across the country. It was hard to get the attention of anybody.

But now: there is real fear of nasty weather. Or in the words of the song: I hear hurricanes ablowing./ I know the end is coming soon. / I fear rivers over flowing. / I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

I feel it in my bones. Now that the economists, the stock brokers, and the bankers are losing fortunes and losing faith we are all paying attention. Not to the things we normally do in the most pleasant month of the year: baseball playoffs and political campaigns and weekend football. We are all paying attention to our shrinking resources. All of a sudden we are glad to have a job and working hard just to keep a job. Who knows what lies right around the corner.

Yesterday the song played out in a home in California. Here is the AP press release: “LOS ANGELES — An unemployed accounting industry worker who was despondent over financial problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in an upscale home in a gated community.”

Remember stanza three? Hope you got your things together. / Hope you are quite prepared to die. / Looks like we’re in for nasty weather. / One eye is taken for an eye.

There is another text, though, that countermands this despair; and I quote from Psalm 46.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with her surging….Nations are in uproar; kingdoms fall; the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge….Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

A musical setting of this sturdy psalm was the theme anthem at the church where I preached for six years. It still resonates in my soul, more loudly now and more frequently. Just the singing of it is a mercy and a grace. It helps me forget about the rising of the moon good or bad and give thanks for the One Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, who made the moon and the stars and the heavens above.

O give thanks to God and give glory to his name.

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1 comment so far

  1. spiritualway on

    Dwight, I have wondered this past thirty days where I might be had I not been a part of that six years of your ministry and listened to “a mighty refuge”!

    I have ranted and used language on your blog-site that I thought I had moved away from these past few years! For that I apoligise.

    From Creation’s “paradox” of creating and destroying, perhaps from the destruction of so much of what I have enjoyed being a part of for forty years plus (free and open markets to invest in dreams and the future), new creation will rise up and open paths of opportunity never envisioned on the old path!

    Yes, a “bad moon” is rising, but there is always a “new moon”!


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