December 4, 2016 – Back to the Future
“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near.”
We All Have an End
If you knew that today was your last day on earth, how would you spend it? Would you do all of the things you normally do – work, school, eating dinner in front of the TV, etc? Or would your day take on a new meaning?
When asked how he would spend the day if he knew he was going to die tomorrow, John Wesley responded, “Exactly what I shall do now. I should call and talk to Mr. So-and-so, and Mrs. So-and-so; and dine at such an hour, and preach in the evening, and have supper, and then I should go to bed and sleep as soundly as ever I did in my life.”
I don’t know that I can speak as boldly as Mr. Wesley. If I knew that tomorrow would be my last day, I would probably make some calls I’ve been putting off. I’d probably write some things down I’ve been meaning to put on paper. And I’d probably give my family an extra long hug and kiss tonight. However, as a Christian, I believe that my entire life is preparation for death.
Though I may not know when I’ll breathe my last, I do know that I will breathe it. And though I can’t count down to my final heart beat, I know, without a doubt, that it will come. And each passing second brings that final moment closer to me.
“For now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”
But am I living like it? Have I allowed that fact to shape my thinking? My attitudes? My words? My actions?
Back to the Future
Advent is a time when we both look forward and behind. We look behind us and remember Jesus’ first coming – his birth and ministry. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on what Jesus’ life means for our own. And as we remember his life – his miracles, his teaching, his death and resurrection – we are reminded that he is no mere historical figure. He is coming in the same way that he left.
And so our minds are drawn forward and we remember the hope that lies before us. The hope we have for a salvation that is nearer to us than when we first believed. It’s a hope that keeps us moving in spite of the opposition around us.
Salvation-hope colors our lives.
And when salvation-hope pervades our lives, we needn’t hold on to past regrets. We won’t have to rush to get everything done right before we die. We will have been preparing for death since we first believed and received that one-of-a-kind hope.
We can live for the future. In a sense, we can begin living in the future right now. That’s part of the beauty of Advent. It reminds us that even as Jesus’ Kingdom is coming, for us, it has already come.
Let us live like it – in hope, in faith, and in love.