“Do you ever get the feeling the world is coming to an end?” said a friend in response to the major world events happening at the time – natural disasters, political strife, conflict between nations, anxiety, angst, turmoil, fear, doubt.
Jesus tells his disciples that unsettling things are coming. The promise he gives is – don’t be unsettled when they do; redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28). Luke’s hearers would have already experienced the destruction of the Temple and the sacking by of Jerusalem by the Roman army in the year 70. This cataclysmic event would have incited fear and panic as much as it did pain and suffering. It is easy to look at bad things happening in our world and/or in our personal lives as God’s judgement and wrath against us. (Just ask Job and his friends.)
The message Jesus offers to the gathered community in the first century rings out to us in the twenty-first century – when it looks like things are bleak – we should expect Christ to be with us – not to bring wrath; but salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
How will we know when it is about to happen? Just like a fig tree growing leaves we know when it is spring. Look for the signs Jesus warns of – but also don’t get into the predicting business. That only incites fear and panic. Instead, hold steadfast; keep awake; be alert. Our faith calls us reach out to others with comfort and peace; especially when things look bleak. In that moment of perseverance as the world collapses – we catch a glimpse of the kingdom. We call it hope.
Where have you seen hope?
Share that story with someone who needs it.
Advent is here. It begins at the end.
Can you see it?
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