A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So the World Ends Tomorrow...

...Yet, I will continue to prepare my sermon for this Sunday. I am already planning my sermon series on the Lord's Prayer for Lent. My wife, Carol has been to the grocery store to buy what we need for our Christmas festivities. The presents have been purchased, wrapped, and are now under the Christmas tree in the expectation that they will be opened after tomorrow. And we are discussing where we might like to vacation this summer.

The ancient Mayan long calendar (one of the three different calendars the Mayans kept) ends on December 21, 2012-- tomorrow. This has led some persons to the conclusion the Mayans knew something centuries ago that we do not-- that with the end of the Mayan calendar comes the end of the world. Actually, the Mayan long calendar ends where it does because all calendars have to end somewhere. To connect this ancient calendar's ending with the end of all things is tantamount to suggesting that the world will be destroyed on December 31, 2012 because that's when the wall calendar ends. Moreover, some Mayan scholars interpret the data differently and believe the long calendar ends on December 23 or 24. So I suppose when the world doesn't end tomorrow, those expecting the end will have to wait another couple of days.

We human beings seem so fascinated with knowing the future. I think there's an irony here. We want to know the future because we want to be in control, but thinking we know when the end will come makes us feel out of control. That leads to panic and in some cases, real hysteria.

One thing I ask people who regularly comb the pages of the Bible in order to discover what is to come and in order to misinterpret those biblical texts, is "Are you sure you really want to know the future?" If we give a little bit of thought to it, is the knowledge of what is to come something we can live with? Do we want to know the date and time of our death? Do we want to know how we will die? Do we want to know how and when our children will die? Do we want to when we will lose the job we love or do we want to know that our son is going to a marry manipulative wife, or that our daughter is going to marry a no-good loser for a husband? When we think about it, do we really want to know what is to come? And for those who say they want to know the future so they can avoid the disasters that are coming, I respond that if we could change things because of our knowledge of the future, then it would no longer be the future. Moreover, the Bible gives us better advice on how to avoid some of the difficulties yet to come-- make wise and prudent decisions in the present. Should it not be sufficient for Christians, who believe that God is in charge, to know that as we journey into the future, come what may, God travels with us?

The late Archbishop of Canterbury, F. Donald Coggan, wrote the following prayer many years ago:
O Lord God who hast called thy servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by ways as yet untrodden, through perils unknown, give us faith to go out with a good courage not knowing whither we go but only that thy hand is leading us and thy love supporting us, to the glory of thy great name. Amen.
Jesus himself said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:34).

Moreover, Jesus also said that he did not know the day nor the hour of his coming again (Matthew 24:36). That was in the hands of his Heavenly Father. If Jesus himself did not know the timing of the end, we can be sure the Mayans didn't know it either.

Friends, let us not worry about the future. God is already there..

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