Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The End is near

“The End is near” Does the phrase conjure images of the bearded man in a robe standing somewhere in Fremont, or the Seattle Center, or Eugene? Maybe you think of the “Left Behind” series of books, or the old movie in the 60’s about the rapture, where Johnny Carson is talking with a guest on the Late Show and the guest disappears. Maybe you’re old enough to remember “88 Reasons the Rapture will Occur in 1988.” Oops.

Go ahead and laugh, but it’s vital to remember that the early church believed it. They believed it because it created a sense of prioritization, a sense of urgency. When you’re parents, or spouse, or roommates are coming home, you time it so that the place looks decent for them JUST before they arrive. Jesus tells numerous stories along these lines, using farmers and fields instead of roommates and dishes, but the point is the same: when ‘the other’ is returning, you want to be about the right stuff.

“But they were wrong!” I hear that a lot – even say it myself sometimes. Yes, Christ didn’t return as they thought. But it is the generations that didn’t have a sense of Christ’s near return that were most prone to idolatry and indulgence. In reality, this sense of nearness is not only a better perspective from which to sift our priorities, but also true – whether by global apocalypse, or personal death, the end is near for all of us. The days we’ve been entrusted with the torch of the testimony are short. Let’s get on with it.


At 16/9/06 07:33, Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I remember greeting a new patient who had been admitted to hospital with a fever. He had just returned from Africa and we suspected malaria.

Four days later he was dead. It was not malaria at all, but acute leukemia, complicated by septicemia.

He had been in his early forties and could not remember a day's illness before.

It was a salutary reminder to me that we might meet the Lord at any moment.

Those unconfessed sins, that broken relationship, that minor dishonesty, that sharp word, that unkindness; all those things had better be put right now. There may not be another opportunity.


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