Saturday, 28 May 2011

The end of the world, or not

I'm troubled about recent predictions of the end of the world for so many reasons. Not least, the fact that Jesus said that 'no one knows, not even the Son of Man', should be enough for fundamentalist prophets who purport to be 'biblical'. The irony is that they are no more biblical than the rest of us, perhaps much less so. They come to the scriptures with an arrogant certainty that is built on their own need to be right, and what comes out is so skewed, it's unrecognizable to mainstream Christians. It strikes me that if they belonged to the church, and stood under authority, they might stand a chance. But they are accountable to no one, and build their own kingdoms in the air. May their kingdoms fail.

Why is it that God doesn't want us to know when the end comes? Probably because we are sinners. I heard last week of the woman who sold everything because she thought she was going to die. She recovered, and then she had to replace everything in her house. The result was that she lost all her memories, and now has to live with new anonymous and relatively meaningless objects. A Russian teenager has committed suicide, purportedly because of her fear of the prophecies that hit the media. Essentially, we can't cope with knowing the future. What God gives us in Jesus Christ is hope, not knowledge, and it's this hope that I really want to focus on now.

Hope is grounded in God's will, God's plan, God's character. I hope because I believe that God has my [and our] best interests at heart. I believe that God wills blessing, and not curse. I believe all this because I hear it in the Old Testament's story, and because it's why Jesus came. I don't always understand - and often life seems to flow away from hope - and I know that I couldn't live with the knowledge of all that might happen to me. (I spend far too long worrying about the skies that won't fall in...) But I couldn't live without the knowledge that God has created me out of love, for a purpose, and that this purpose is woven into his eternal purposes. For today, that's enough for me. Let Jesus come again: I'm ready, but I'm not waiting.

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