November 22nd, 2015 Scriptures for the Last Sunday of the Church Year
Scriptures: Isaiah 51:4-6; Jude 20–25; Mark 13:24-37
These days we see the end of so many fashion trends that we never really wonder what comes next because we are sure there will be ‘just another best thing.’ I mean we do experience the end of careers, the end of sports seasons, and even the end of relationships we thought would last forever. All these endings are inevitably followed by a next season, next job, next person. We strive to correct mistakes, be better fans, be better people in an effort to ensure that things don’t come to an end in our lives. As laudable as this effort may be, there is one place in which we will have no ability to keep THE END from coming, this is as the Scriptures declare, the end of time.
Isaiah makes clear that we will, if we are still alive and walking on this planet, see the end come as ‘the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner.’ (some translations finish this line with ‘die like flies’) For a glimpse of what it might look like all we have to do is google ‘black hole’ and watch what astronomers already witness namely suns, stars just like ours, being swallowed up, melted, destroyed, ended. Jesus reminds His followers that when they see ‘things like these (sun darkened, moon giving no light, stars falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens shaken)’ the Son of Man will come – THE END of time.
We could send our time constantly looking up, trying to discern the last day and although we are called to ‘Stay awake’ we are not called to sit on the porch and twiddle our thumbs. This last imperative of Jesus means to ‘look alive’ or to ‘be active’. The correct question then is not like the disciples, ‘when will these things be’ but rather, ‘what should we be doing while we wait?’ The answer appears clearly in the words of Jude, ‘have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.’ Our one task given by God is to share the great good news that because of Jesus finished work for us, we know the end we face is merely the beginning, not of another fad, job or relationship, but rather the beginning of our face to face relationship with our God and Father, His Son and the Spirit in eternity.
As we make this transition from the end of this church year to the beginning of the next in the Advent season, purpose with me to share the message with those you love and care for. Encourage them that this same Jesus who came in the manger is the same One who ascended to the right hand of God and He is the same Son of Man who will return on the clouds to signal THE END of time and the beginning of forever!