There is a common question and a common complaint shared by most people; it is: When is it all going to happen; and when will it start, or stop, begin or end, happen, or not... When? Of course, the “it” word and what it describes is the key.
In scripture “it” is the end of the world. It is the cataclysm when the Earth will rattle and explode and life in this place will end. It is when the creator will say “enough,” and take away all the life we know, that within us, and that which surrounds us. It is the final judgement of the world; an event we cannot imagine.
All of this end time is predicted; and yet, no dates are offered. No one will be allowed to know when that time will happen, not even the Angels will know.
Isaiah gives us warning. He tells of preparing for the event, or what can be done to gain God’s favor and save ourselves and society from this end time. You have heard it before and memorized all the beautiful words:
“He shall judge between the nations,
And shall arbitrate between many peoples;
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
I believe God meant this to be more than a sentiment, more than a dream. So did Paul when he admonished the people of Rome to “Lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in the day ... Instead put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” He said. Paul knew living in debauchery and sin was not the way we should live. He wanted us always to be prepared for the imminent judgement of Christ. Matthew also advised, using the words of Jesus. “But about that day and hour, no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the father.” And once again we are advised to always be prepared for judgement, in the way we act.
It is good to be reminded that living our lives in the good fear of judgment is better than suffering the failings of poor preparation. Especially at this time of waiting for God joining us, as one of us, in the birth of a child in Bethlehem. In that child we have the promise of an always new beginning, with no fear of the end time. AMEN.
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.