Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
In recent weeks I have heard a number of people comment that they believe the end of the world is coming soon. Now rather than scoffing at such thinking it is well worth a look at the various texts in Scripture we find in the Lectionary during these last weeks before Advent begins. Certainly the early Christians that Paul was addressing in his first letter to the Thessalonians thought so and in some ways why not. However, there is some thinking around ‘the end of the world is nigh’ that I would want to qualify with a few extra ideas.
1. It will come at a time no-one knows when. “The Lord will come like a thief in the night.” It’s only in God’s time, not ours, that the fulfilment of the kingdom will come to be.
2. What is important for us to do is to live the gospel now. Whilst the end time will come, it is not for us to know and cannot live in the future, only the pre sent. So, why worry about that now. It is responding to Christ’s call daily— listening, praying, doing and being that really count.
3. We must not succumb negatively to the predictions of future, whether predicated on sound reflection of Scripture, or wild theorising that tries to match-up and connect apocalyptic ideas with current affairs.
4. The church, I believe, to its detriment in various quarters has sought to use such future forecasting as a means of inducing fear and thereby a faith response. Whether that worked then or not, it certainly isn’t a way to do so now, particularly in western culture. We would have much more success by living the Gospel. To see that as something normal that people can do which truly makes a difference.
May you journey well with Christ this week.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.