“The End of the World’s Coming” (Sermon for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, on Mark 13:24-37)
“The End of the World’s Coming” (Mark 13:24-37)
“In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” Mark 13:24-25.
Sunday, April 14, 1935. Palm Sunday. Across the Great Plains of America–in Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, Colorado, New Mexico–people awoke that day to a bright and clear morning. It looked like it would be a fine, sunny day. This came as a welcome relief. For several years, that part of the country had been suffering from a severe drought, and dust storms–“black dusters,” they called them–were a frequent occurrence. Most every day was gray and hazy now. The dust carried in the air made it hard to breathe. People–children and old people, especially–got “dust pneumonia,” which killed many. But this day, Palm Sunday, 1935, looked like it would be a clear and sunny day.
But before the day was over, the biggest dust storm of them all–a mile high and 200 miles wide–would sweep down the plains and turn the day to night. Palm Sunday, 1935, would forever be known as “Black Sunday.”
In the PBS series, “The Dust Bowl,” which aired this past week, people who lived through Black Sunday–they were children then, they’re old folks now–recalled in vivid detail what they remember from that day. One woman said: “We saw this cloud coming in. It would just roll in–black, black dirt. And I’ll never forget my grandmother . . . she said, ‘You kids run and get together. The end of the world’s coming.’ . . . And that cloud just rolled like that, just kept coming in. It just got dark as could be.”
A young songwriter who would go on to become famous, the late Woody Guthrie, told what he remembered: “We watched the dust storm come up, like a Red Sea closing in on the Israel children. . . . And a lot of people in the crowd that was religious-minded, and they was up pretty well on the Scriptures, and they said, ‘Well, boys, girls, friends, and relatives: This is the end. This is the end of the world.’”
Woody Guthrie would write a song about that day, called……