“And they lived happily ever after.”
That was the commonly expected end line to any given fairy tale read to us when we were growing up. All good stories come to an end, and the stories that warmed our hearts and sparked our imaginations as children always had a good ending. I know that there is a more jaded view of life that seems predominant in story telling lately, but still the most popular of stories resolve with a good ending. For all the loss and pain that built during Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts, the final ending was one of peace and hope and love. In fact, it was the darkest moments of Voldemort’s successes in his return that made the light shine that much brighter when he was finally defeated for good.
All the best stories have a good ending.
The Bible is no different, and this Sunday as we continue our study in Luke, Jesus will give us a glimpse of the good ending God has in store. It’s just that, before we get to that end, things will get pretty dark. We’ll be reading Luke 21:20-38.
Jesus describes things that, if they happen literally, would be very frightening – signs in the sky and panic on the earth. But v28 tells us what response God is hoping for from us, and why. What is the response, and why would we give that response?
Redemption is the end goal. Rescue is what God’s big plan is all about. The problem is, if life is pretty good and our own little kingdom is doing pretty well, its sort of hard to want God’s kingdom to come, isn’t it? Redemption sounds like really good news to people whose lives have gotten really bad. That sort of brings a new understanding to some of the dark times faced on earth, doesn’t it? Light dawning is always sweet for those who sit in darkness. When Pharaoh took away the straw to make bricks, the wilderness looked pretty good to the Israelites as a path to the promised land of freedom.
Still, it’s been 2,000 years since Jesus made this promising prediction. 2,000 years is a long time to sit on the edge of your seat without settling back and trying to get comfortable. That presents us with a danger which Jesus alerts us to. I am certain that Jesus’ words were not meant to inspire a fear that we might miss the rapture if we misbehave, but rather, inspire a HOPE that would bring out what’s best in us while we wait for him. If we live with a certainty of hope – if we live right now believing that the world will one day be set right, how might it change the way we live? What does life look like when lived with a sure belief that justice, peace, kindness and grace will one day prevail? What kind of life emerges from the unshakable conviction that love will win the day?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this passage. Hope your Thanksgiving weekend is all you had hoped it would be – and I pray that grace surrounds you always! See you Sunday.