Sunday, 2 December 2018

Soon and Very Soon

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’’ (Luke 21.25-36)

Enjoyed the comments of Henning Wehn on, I think, the Now Show last week. He was talking about Brexit and remarked that, at the distance of 500 years into the future, the convulsions of the British people and politicians over Brexit would appear as just a blip in history.

And he has a point. Go back 500 years ago. 1518. Somewhat oddly, the year 1518 started in France on 4 April, and lasted until 23 April in what we would call 1519. In July, the "Dancing Plague" broke out in Strasbourg, and 400 people died after dancing for days. The English King, Henry VIII, was a devout Catholic monarch who would, three years later, write the "Defence of the Seven Sacraments" - the work that would lead the Pope to give him the title "Defender of the Faith". They didn't know what was coming!

The way we govern the country, the political map of Europe, the position of the Church - all have changed since 1518. We have drugs that Henry VIII would have thought were witchcraft. The gout he suffered from we could probably control with drugs and diet. Though we could maybe do less about his personality. But human nature doesn't seem to have changed. We still fear change, fear death and are less nice about each other than we should be.

Jesus told the disciples that all these signs would happen, and yet not when the end comes. That generation passed away - and they had seen wars, they had seen distressed, they'd seen the powers of heaven shaken - but they never saw the end. And in the 2,000 years since, we've seen the fall and rise of Empires that people thought would never end - churches and nations and powers rise and fall. The war to end all wars - and all the wars that came after that one.

And still we wait. In a world where we need to reduce our CO2 output to prevent terrible climate change, and yet the politicians, businesses and people don't have the will or the cohesion to do anything meaningful - we wait. As the United Kingdom wonders what its relationship with Europe will be in 4 months - we wait. As so many nations fall into populism, racism and mutual suspicion - we wait. These won't be the \End Times - unless this time they are - but Jesus breaks into this world, in love and unasked-for care, in cries for justice and concern for the poor. In treating each individual we meet as if they were Jesus himself.

So we can wait for the King to come in glory - but also remember that we meet him, in our fellowships, in every corner of our towns, in every part of the world. The King will come one day, and put all things right. And every day is the day when we can greet him, and put small things right.

Lift up your heads. Your redemption is drawing near.

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1 comment :

  1. The One we wait for will come but is also always coming if only we can be awake and alert to the signs of his kingdom breaking in, even in unexpected places.


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