They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne. . . .”
The opening of the sixth seal places us on shaky ground. John sees a massive earthquake undoing all the stitches of created reality. All that we assume to be permanent parts of the created world around us—sun, moon, stars, blue sky, mountains, and islands in the sea—are dramatically changed or removed from their place. It’s like ground zero in an event of mass destruction.
Everyone, of course, is affected. The powerful, the rich, and the poor all share in this common ground of chaos. All the supports that people are used to counting on are removed.
And what is not removed? God.
What do people do with this God who refuses to go away? We hear their cry of desperation. When people are brought face to face with God, they do what humankind has attempted since the fall into sin (Genesis 3:1-11): they try to hide from God. Fear deepens their desperation—and they call to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us . . . !”
Hiding from God keeps God unknown. Thankfully, hills do not respond to people’s cries.
But God does! God knows what to do with our fear over coming close to him. He welcomes us with all of our fears and surprises us with an embrace like a parent welcoming a long-lost child back home (see Luke 15:11-24).
O God, we have often kept you at arm’s length. We have tried to hide from you. Please remove our fear and welcome us home, we pray. Amen.