End Times?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I got word today that a friend of mine committed suicide.  Of all the things we mourn in life, suicide I find to be the toughest for me.  It has so many more “what if’s" than all the others causes of loss.  Suicide seems so needless.

Our text for this Sunday is Mark 13:1-8, Jesus speaking on the end times.  Jesus says, “For nation will rise against nation….there will be earthquakes…there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs." (vs 8)

The movie promotion of the film, “2012” is all the rage right now.  It is based on a prediction by the Mayan calendar that the world will end on Dec 21, 2012.  Why are all the experts saying this movie will be a huge box office hit?  Why are we so obsessed with the end times? One would think in an economic climate like this and a time of war, we would rather think of more pleasant things?  The answer to my questions came from a recent article in the newspaper.

The Denver Post ran an article on the movie 2012 last week.  The story included an intriguing quote from Dr. Lorne Dawson, a Prof of Sociology at Ontario’s University of Waterloo: “A lot of why people are interested in the end times right now revolves around deep frustration with the way things are. I f you are a person who hasn’t quite succeeded or won, it provides hope, inspiration, satisfaction.  If you think your life doesn’t mean anything, there is consolation in believing there is meaning to the overall pattern of things.  If the world ends while you are alive, then you are part of this great grander meaning.”

The best knowledge we have of the end times is found in Mark 13:32-33: "But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come."

I give thanks to God that I do not know the day the world will come to an end.  If I knew, I would be in a useless panic.  What I give thanks for most is that I am called to be “alert.”  You are only asked to be “alert” if there is something you are called to watch for and to do now.  We live in a time when Dr. Dawson is right, many of our friends and loved ones (maybe even ourselves) are in “deep frustration with the way things are.” In such a time, do not wish for the end of the world, but rather be vigilant and attuned to the needs of yourself and others.  Practice greater levels of care, that we might be the beacons of Jesus' light, love, and hope in this time that of darkness for so many.

You have great worth to your God.  Let no employer, bank account, debtor, colleague, or other worldly source take away the identity you have been given as a child of God.

And let us remember that our purpose was lifted up by General Casey yesterday at the memorial service at Fort Hood.  Gen. Casey quoted the prophet Isaiah, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us? And I said ‘Here I am; send me!'”( Isaiah 6:8)  Your lone purpose in this world and singular measurement of who you are is found in this verse and nowhere else.  Let us take stock of the many gifts we have as children of God and serve one another with lavish love.

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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