The sandwich-board says “The End is Neigh… Repent or Fry!”
The idea of talking about the end is very unfashionable in our Churches.
Scripture calls us to interpret the times and the seasons, those of us who are ordained in the Church of England have promised to be “watchmen, keeping watch”.
Theologian Karl Barth urged his students to read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand, the Bible speaks into todays world, and God’s word has a timeless power to speak prophetically into the changing world.
Jesus called his people to keep watch and be ready, we have heard of the foolish virgins -or bridesmaids- that run out of oil waiting for the bridegroom to return (oil being a symbol of the Holy Spirit). Be ready, don’t miss out.
The repeated message of the Gospels is be ready, John the Baptist message was “repent for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand”. Be ready, and be prepared.
Peter warns us to be on our guard for “your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” -Be ready, and stay alert.
Paul instructs us to “wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead and the light of God will shine on you”… Be prepared, don’t lets get caught napping.
The early Church were expecting the imminent return of Jesus, yet we aren’t expecting him to come anytime soon. Its almost a joke -I have a T’shirt saying “Jesus is coming look busy”- but the truth is Jesus IS coming. The question is “how will he find his Church?” -that’s you and me-.
People say “we won’t know the day or the hour”, “it will come like a thief in the night” and like “Labour Pains on a pregnant woman”… Yet Christians are also called to look at and study the times and the seasons, to see what God is doing and saying in his world.
Yesterday I heard a challenging talk on all things “end-times related” from a very wise guy Rich Rycroft, and today I spoke to my friend Mark Rich, who said this “we may not know the day or the hour but we can know the season”, we know God is on the move, God is at work and time may well be shorter, much shorter than we think.
I came back to God through the sudden death of a 19 year old friend, her death jolted me out of my complacency, realising that I couldn’t put off thinking about these things that actually really mattered (mattered more than anything else). Before her death I was something of a spiritual ostrich burying my head in the sand, yet God wanted me to come to a realisation that these things cannot be put of to another day, because one day there wont be another day.
I have never been to a casino, nor ever played roulette, but I’ve seen that on the movies there is a time when they say “no more bets” and the opportunity has gone.
I believe we are living in changing times, time where God is at work, God is reminding his Church of the urgency of his Gospel -especially as “in the last days people will be lovers of themselves and will gather around themselves those who say what their itching ears long to hear”-.
Now is the time.
Now is the day of Salvation.
Let’s not be frightened, Jesus is faithful and trustworthy, but let us seize the day, and live each moment as though it were our last, bringing in a harvest that lasts for eternity.
Jesus is the King, but he is the soon coming King, are we ready for him, let’s get ready for him, let’s encourage one another to be ready for the King’s return.