The End?

May 19, 2011 § 5 Comments

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes… again
(The Doors)

In case you haven’t heard, the world will end this Saturday, May 21. According to self-proclaimed prophet Harold Camping, ‘Judgment Day’ will come with worldwide earthquakes. A full-page ad appeared this week in USA TODAY warning folks of impending catastrophe. And naturally, with the announcement also came Camping’s rationale for his previous failure in predicting the end of the world.

The problem with predicting ‘The End’ is that Jesus clearly teaches that this isn’t our place – that the Father alone knows how history will end. Shortly before Jesus ascended to heaven His disciples – His closest friends – asked for some inside information on the consummation of time. Jesus responded (Acts 1:7), It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. He would proceed to inform them that His Spirit would come and lead and empower them in the mission at hand.

Christ’s admonition wasn’t derived by a devilish pleasure in holding secrets others couldn’t share in. His concern is with becoming preoccupied with ‘The End’ at the expense of the here and now – Here and now where brokenness lives, and where need is palpable to a world damaged by sin – the here and now that cries for someone to enter into sorrow, with hope and not fear.

It is worth visiting some history here. I was raised in churches that saw ‘The End’ in terms of the ‘Last Days’ – that we would one day accompany and assist Jesus in His victory over the wicked. We sang Larry Norman’s, I Wish We’d All Been Ready, and watched movies on the ‘end times,’ while convinced that every symbol in the prophecy of Daniel and book of Revelation could be identified with some event or personality or dynamic in the culture, and thus prove that those times had arrived.

But we were wrong, and our passion was misguided. Jesus didn’t redeem us to decipher the future, rather to trust Him with it while living out the gospel in the present – to collaborate in God’s mission of bringing heaven to earth: An unwarranted kindness, an unexpected act of mercy, the practice of forgiveness, taking pleasure in the lovely things of creation, the culture and arts, compassion on those otherwise ignored or scorned, participation in evangelism, planting churches, restoring communities and cities, and praying for flourishing and peace in a world torn by sin.

All these, and more, reflect the belief that what God will ultimately do, He has already inaugurated in Jesus, and that we have been invited to share in the arrival of His Kingdom – not tomorrow, and not May 21st, but Today.

Friends, this is Good News.


PS – In case you remain unconvinced and are sold that this is the end, and that you have no need to plan past Saturday, then my only question is this: Can I have your stuff?

§ 5 Responses to The End?

  • Fred says:

    Good song. Great reminder and reflection. See you Sunday.

  • Jen Hamilton says:

    Oh, thank you thank you THANK YOU for this post. We visit Chapelgate whenever we are in MD…and I wish that we lived there so we could attend and be a part of what you are doing there. This is so RIGHT ON. I wish more Christians believed and lived out (myself included!) what you wrote in the paragraph where you start to write “Jesus didn’t redeem us to decipher the future…etc.” Thank you for this sanity-restoring post.
    Jen Hamilton, Laramie, WY (Cousin to Chris Reid and Janell and the boys and Morgan:))

  • unfinished1 says:

    Thanks you all – It hit me today that there is something about our wanting to know what we don’t know that drives so much craziness and sin – and that it was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that bore the fruit that was forbidden to Adam and Eve. Interesting. Not only do we not have to know everything, but we aren’t supposed to either…

  • Donna Mortensen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you, for sanity, perspective and purpose. (and can I have the stuff of people who haven’t already promised their stuff to you?)

  • Fred says:

    Thanks Mike, Sorry the bee is spoken for but if anything else strikes your fancy go for it 😉

    if i had really been thinking i would have sold “In case Fred gets raptured and you don’t” raffle tickets for it….

    Like the Tree reference. The desire for knowledge is strong, yes i think it traces back to inner sinful nature of pride -> desiring knowledge and power for our own ends.. particularly interesting though today with quantities of knowledge exploding by leaps and bounds. So often WE Americans (myself included) look to knowledge, education, programs and processes for salvation. Thanks for keeping us pointed in the right direction. Always towards the Cross, wherever we are.

    some real gems here: (before i read this i dismissed him much like i would Professor Trelawnny, but this shows some serious issues that makes me want to pray for HIS soul……) kinda hard because i feel he has done such a disservice to the true Church. Not that we don’t do a good enough job on our own of giving the world reason to doubt, but did he have to buy a whole radio network?

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