I’m not sure if it’s a new thing but it feels like during a chaotic time like the one we are in, everyone wants to talk about the end of the world. Well, maybe not everyone but at least a significant few.
I’ve been reflecting on this and asking myself when did we stop living with a view of the end in mind? What is it about a pandemic that sharpens the senses? Is it a healthy thing to think about the end or is it a way of escape from the confusion of the present?
For me, I think it can be a healthy thing to think about the story we are in and where it is heading but only if we allow it to shape our present. Jesus was always challenging His followers to let the future shape their present. Many of the metaphors that Jesus used to talk about the Kingdom of Heaven [the future and perfect order of God breaking into the present in our time] were about a coming event - the returning of a king, a wedding banquet, a vineyard owner, the returning master of the house. They key message that comes through in all of these is, be ready, be awake, don’t find yourself asleep on the job.
In a pandemic like the one we are in everything that we have placed as a reference point for security and meaning in our society gets shaken. This can feel deeply unsettling and we look for some semblance of control wherever we can find it. I’d like to say that as followers of Jesus we are immune to this but often the truth is we have put our security and trust in things that are temporary and we find our sense of meaning under threat too. It’s important to acknowledge this and make room to process it with others of faith in a safe space. But there is also another invitation - what if this shaking, as uncomfortable as it feels, helps wake us afresh to the reality of God’s Kingdom, breaking now into our present and coming in the future.
Perhaps, our desire to talk about the end is a desire to see something beyond the chaos and understand that there is someone beyond all this who is in control, someone we can trust. Maybe, a moment like this is a sharp reminder of that which is temporary and a call to re-engage with that which is eternal. When we do that, we begin to allow our hearts to be shaped by what Jesus considers important not by that which the Bible tells us is fading away.
Living ready, awake, and engaged means coming alive to the power of God’s Kingdom, through the movement of the Holy Spirit. Many of you have been feeling the desire for this in your life. It’s a reminder of how deep our need for God really is. If thinking about the end helps us come alive to what God is doing in the present then that can only be a good thing. Where is Jesus inviting you to come awake, prepare your heart and reposition your life to be always ready. I believe He is looking for people who are ready - people through whom His powerful Kingdom can break in on the earth with greater impact and intensity. Are you in?