By Graham Glover –
This coming Sunday is the Last Sunday in the Church Year. The following week the Church will begin celebrating the Advent season. One common theme throughout the readings and services for the next five weeks will be our Lord’s return. As the faithful prepare to celebrate His birth we also prepare ourselves for His 2nd coming.
But I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m tired of waiting for Jesus to return! It’s been roughly 2,000 years since He ascended into heaven and took His place at the right hand of God the Father. What’s He waiting for? Doesn’t He see the calamity that is this world – the amount of sin that has infected it? I know that Israel waited much longer for His first coming, but I’ve got to think He’s made His point by now. Our societies are falling apart, the Church is divided, false religions continue to rise, and more and more people doubt His existence. How can the Father not think it’s time for His Son to return? Let’s get this whole “new heaven and new earth” thing rolling, where all the faithful will be reunited for eternity.
This is what our Lord has promised and I’m ready for it to happen.I’m tired of waiting. And I think others are as well.
For those of you who are ready to question my theological integrity: grab a drink, light up a cigar, and take a deep breath. While I take my Lord’s command to pray daily for His return seriously, I’m obviously not suggesting that my rant above should be taken to heart.
But why not? Why shouldn’t I say that I’m tired of waiting for the Lord Jesus to return? I may not be the smartest bloke, but it seems to me that such a return would finally resolve the many conflicts we face as a society, a Church, and a government.
Think of all the competing ideas of truth that exist today. We are divided not only as Americans, but as citizens of the world on what is right and wrong. There is no common moral code – no common ethic that unites us or that we can claim exist for all people in all times and places. To suggest such a thing means you are an absolutist and in our relativistic culture, such a suggestion has no room. If the One who is Truth returned, these debates could be put to rest.
What about the Christian Church? Could we be more divided? There seems to be more disunity as each year passes, with disagreement growing on doctrine, worship, and what it means to be a Christian. There are hundreds, if not thousands, who claim to have the right interpretation of Christianity, but the longer it takes for the Christ to return, the more divisive those who follow Him become toward one another and ultimately, toward Him.
As for government, wow, that’s just a hot mess. To say nothing of those in other countries, we Americans haven’t the slightest idea what it means to unite behind something. I know there have been other times in our nation’s history when our citizens were intensely divided, but today’s political climate has to rate up there with some of the worst. The midterm elections weren’t even over and others (including me) were already looking forward to 2016. I wonder when we’ll start planning for the 2020 election, claiming it is the most important election in our nation’s history. With our Lord’s return, such claims of political purity will be no more, and our passionate and divided people will have no need to argue about what type of government is best.
And you wonder why I want Jesus to return…
Thankfully what I want is not what the Lord wants. My dreams for a perfect society, a perfect Church, and a perfect government are not what our Lord has called us to wish for or to try and achieve. He knows that the world will always stand against Him and the Truth he proclaims. (It always has.) But despite this opposition, His Word is still proclaimed, never to return empty. He knows that His Church will never be one until He returns. (A sobering reality for the ecclesial purists out there.) And yet even though the Church has many divisions, souls continue be brought to the waters of Holy Baptism and mouths are still fed with His precious Body and Blood. As for our political bickerings, our Lord could care less. (Democrat/Republican – capitalist/socialist – democrat/monarch…there is no biblical governmental ideal.) We spend so much time trying to elect righteous candidates and support righteous platforms that we have lost our primary focus as Christians and that is, as my good friend Ross Engel noted last week: to simply deliver the goods of the Gospel!
The point is that our desires for a utopian society, which is what my rant above illustrates, has nothing to do with our faith or our Lord’s return. Our Lord will indeed return. When, I have no idea. Nor do I really care. His will be done – whenever and however He deems. For as this season teaches us, our Lord’s will is always superior to ours.
Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.