[Note: Some of this material appeared in a previous post, but wanted to share it again as it appears in this month's church newsletter. Plus, today's "9 to 5" comic at the left is a perfect complement.]
The End is Near!
You've seen the stereotypical image … a long-haired, shabby looking fellow, walking around the city streets wearing a sandwich board that reads, “THE END IS NEAR!” … people walking by, going about their business, shaking their heads at someone who is probably either a mentally disturbed individual or an extreme religious fanatic.
Yet every so often, there are predictions made about when “the end” of the world will be. That happened recently as the year 2000 approached. Currently, there's some unrest surrounding the year 2012. Part of the anxiety is due to the fact that the ancient Mayan calendar mysteriously ends in 2012. The poems of the 16th Century prognosticator Nostradamus have now been interpreted to predict some big events happening in 2012, as well … a comet striking the earth, the beginning of World War III, things like that. And contributing to the doomsday mania is a movie which is set to be released this month entitled … you guessed it, “2012.”
When you look around at our world today, you might come to the conclusion that “The End is Near!” Wars and the threats of war, earthquakes, famines, natural disasters, irrational rulers threatening to annihilate their enemies, not to mention our own nation's fragile economy … well, it's enough to make a person want to order a backyard bunker kit from a survivalist website.
People have been making predictions for centuries about when the end of the world would come. This is nothing new. But the dates have come and gone, and we're still here. I have a feeling that the same thing is going to happen with 2012, in spite of what the Mayan calendar says. Having said that, however, it's also true that Jesus could return in the next 5 minutes, if he so chooses. At that point, 2012 would be a moot point. In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks about his Second Coming, and he says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Over these last few weeks of the Church Year, we will hear more about our Lord's promises about his return and about the “Last Things” of which Scripture teaches.
I'll put my trust in Christ's words, not the words of any mere man or Mayan or mystic of the Middle Ages. We know Jesus is coming back. We don't know when. We are simply to be prepared by trusting in his work at the cross for us. And hearing his Word weekly with fellow believers and receiving his Body and Blood regularly is certainly good medicine to have that faith strengthened.