Monday, November 21, 2016
We begin the season of Advent this Sunday. A reminder that the word ‘advent’ means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” And remember we are not just talking about the ‘Christ-child’, but also the 2nd coming of Jesus, and Jesus coming to us 24/7 in the person of the Holy Spirit. All three of these sum up the meaning of Advent. We start today with the 2nd coming of Jesus, so often for us a far away, sensational event we don’t pay too much attention to. Here’s the secret to the end times! Whatever is going to happen then, and we should pay attention to it, is happening now too, and contains is a message for how we live in the here and now. Every generation experiences the signs of the coming Jesus. Sadly few generations pay attention to it. Here's why we should pay attention: o In almost every ‘end time’ story Jesus told, and there are several of them, he emphasized the ‘urgency’ of our faith now! For example in Matthew 24:44 he concludes his ‘end time’ story with these words, “So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him". Jesus constantly reminds us to check our complacency – it seems he thought this to be of major concern. So did John think this, as in his seven letters to the churches, the Spirit says to the church in Laodicea, “But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth!” Because there are so many sensational, ill directed and wild statements made about the end times, we have grown indifferent to them. The marginal fringe have all but ruined the ‘end time’ message for most of us. If not even Jesus knew the time, "No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come - neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows, (Matthew 24:36), how on earth do such fringe lunatics know? o 'End times' helps us interpret and understand what is happening around the globe now (war, crime, brutality, climate change, ‘haves versus the have nots). If it going to happen then, it sure is going to happen now! It is as Ecclesiastes says, ‘there is nothing new under the sun’, every generation points towards a final consummation, and up until now every generation has had to live through much trial, tribulation, and terror, both globally, and for many very personally. o The end is going to happen one day, it is an integral part of our common history and destiny. We must not think God is a fool and his warnings irrelevant. History is not spinning around in a pointless circle, as it appears to. God is still in control, and has plans for a new earth and a new heaven, for us in the here and now when we die, and then one day when it all comes together.