“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
“Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards.”
Are you old enough to remember the 1968 number 1 billboard hit song
“In the year 2525”?
I hated it then and I think I hate it even more now.
It was a futuristic sort of song…dismal and depressing.
A song that told the tale of the world as we know it growing more and more separate
from that of mankind…to the point that mankind is basically eliminated.
As in no longer necessary.
It was a song that became a number one hit on both sides of the pond but it was
a one-hit-wonder for its artists.
It was a song written by a pop-rock duo of Denny Zager and Rick Evans.
According to Wikipedia the basic gist of the song is:
“In the Year 2525” opens with an introductory verse explaining that if mankind
has survived to that point, he would witness the subsequent events in the song.
Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565.
In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated:
thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume,
machines take over all work, resulting in eyes, teeth, and limbs losing their purposes,
and marriage becomes obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes.
Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song
(chromatic modulation), after two stanzas, first from A-flat minor, to A minor.
For the final three millennia, now in B flat minor, the tone of the song turns apocalyptic:
the year 7510 marks the date by which the Second Coming will have happened,
and the Last Judgment occurs one millennium later.
By 9595, with the song now in B minor, the Earth becomes completely depleted of resources,
potentially resulting in the death of all life.
The song ends in the year 10,000.
By that time, man has become extinct.
But the song notes that in another solar system (or universe),
the scenarios told in the song may still be playing out,
as the beginning of the song repeats and the recording fades out.
The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence
on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around
the world in the late 1960s.
The song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
As a near 10-year-old in 1968, the song, although playing on all the radios,
had an ominous and monotone feel that actually frightened me.
How such a depressing song could rise to the top of the music charts was beyond my
comprehension…but then again, it was 1968 and 1969 and life in the US, as well as
most of the world, was quite precarious.
We had the Vietnam War, a civil rights movement, a summer of love, hippies,
an angry women’s lib movement, free love, free sex, the pill, burning bras,
a moon landing along with all sorts of protests left and right.
So wouldn’t you know it…out of the blue, those stupid lyrics popped into my head
I suppose it’s because I’m feeling some hidden residual 1968 angst stemming from
a futuristic song titled ‘in the year 2525’ all coming into focus in the year 2020.
Maybe it’s some odd form of PTSD percolating to the surface from being a preteen
during the tumultuous late ’60s.
2020 seems to be pulling upon those hidden memories
and thus far, it certainly isn’t proving to be the greatest of years.
I have made a mental note of how many conversations I’ve had over the past month–
be it with friends, folks at the grocery store, the post office, the dry cleaners,
family members, the doctor’s office, blog friends, etc—conversations that have each
concluded with folks lamenting aloud that we are living in our final days.
As in…this must be the end of time and are we currently in the thick of it…
Yet I know what Scripture tells us…we will not know the day nor time..
like a thief in the night…He will come…unannounced.
In 2015, I went to Ireland–it was to be the last adventure with my aunt—a sad
truth that at the time, neither of us could have seen or known.
The trip which was just another in a list of adventures actually became more
of a pilgrimage.
God spoke very clearly to me during that tirp.
I’ve written about that before.
It just so happened that during that trip,
I became aware of an obscure 12th-century Irish archbishop and later saint,
I love a good historical mystery—don’t you?
It seems that St. Malachy was a bit of a prophet regarding the seat of Peter.
According to Irish Central, In 1139, then Archbishop Malachy went to Rome from Ireland
to give an account of his affairs.
While there he received a strange vision about the future that included the name of every pope,
112 in all from his time, who would rule until the end of time.
We are now at the last prophecy.
The prediction in full is: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there
will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations,
after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will
judge the people.
The father of the current pope [Pope Francis] was Peter, or Pietro,
and was from Italy even though the family moved to Argentina.
During the trip, while in County Donegal, the original home to my aunt’s grandparents,
I had wandered into a small shop where an obscure little book caught my attention.
Prophecies of St Malachy & Columbkille
I already knew a great deal about St Columba (Columbkille) who hailed from
County Donegal and spent his life evangelizing the pagan Celtic lands of both
Ireland and Scotland, but Malachy was new to me.
Intrigued, I bought the book.
And so I ask you…
Is the global Church not under dire persecution?
Has the seat of Peter not been hated through the ages by
both Believer and nonbeliever?
Are Malachy’s words mere coincidence?
I don’t know.
Only time will tell.
So recently, at a low moment following the fresh riots in Atlanta and months of pandemic lockdown,
I sent an almost desperate email to a dear friend in Ireland.
This friend is a fierce Believer who I know hears very clearly the spoken word of God–
something I myself often struggle to hear.
I asked him what might God be telling us during these such trying times.
He waited quite some time before sending a response as he wanted
to hear clearly a true answer to my question.
His response was a balm to my soul…
I don’t think he’ll mind me sharing a portion of his reply…
“God is in control.
We are down to the bare bones.
Your faith is being tested.
God says I AM THAT I AM—this has been known since before time–
since before you were born.
While God did not create the situation, He is control of it.
I know that’s hard to believe when you are in the thick of it but you need to think back
on all the times you personally have known [that] God has moved in your life.
This is it Julie it is your maker and He wants you to tune out of this world
and focus on Him.
Not an easy thing to do but He is there amid all the chaos and lies and anger
God sent his only son for you and me and all who would believe.
His love knows no bounds.
He is in control for you and your family– for me and my family– He will not let you down.
I know He has not failed me, even though I fail constantly.’
Keep the faith.
Know that God, Jesus the Holy Spirit are always with you and your family…”
So yes, these are depressing and frightening times…much like that stupid song.
And yes, the Chruch is in turmoil…as well as conveniently shuttered when
her flock needs her most…
Are we truly in the end times…?
I can’t say.
It feels like it but then again, previous generations have felt much the same
as we feel now.
But in the end, one truth remains…God is still God and I am not.