25 “Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won’t know what to do.
“26 People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world. Every power in the sky will be shaken. 27 Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 28 When all of this starts happening, stand up straight and be brave. You will soon be set free.
“29 Then Jesus told them a story:
‘When you see a fig tree or any other tree 30 putting out leaves, you know that summer will soon come. 31 So, when you see these things happening, you know that God’s kingdom will soon be here. 32 You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all of this takes place. 33 The sky and the earth won’t last forever, but my words will.
34 Don’t spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35like a trap. That day will surprise everyone on earth. 36 Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.’”
I’m including the entire Gospel passage this week due to the significance it obviously holds for our current time. The Scripture not only talks of the current time it was written, but also of future events.
Since Advent is about a “coming” or, a future event, this Lucan passage gives us insight into what could be considered our current time. Although we are told in Scripture that, “No one knows” the time when Christ will return, we understand the great need to be ready and, in other words, prepare our lives for future events.
There are those who believe this is the last Christmas for the people of this earth and that the world will end as we know it. I am not predicting that, but I can tell you that according to the Scripture it would seem we are in those “last days” and if that is the case, be prepared for His coming regardless whether it is this year, next year or, the next decade.
I remember when I was a child hearing my Great Aunt Nettie saying one day in her kitchen as I watched her roll out the dough to make dumplings for the chicken that was cooking in the pot, “Honey, it pays to be prayed up, paid up and ready to go up, cause we don’t know when our time will come to meet the Lord in eternity or if he appears before we die. Just be ready at all times!”
That statement didn’t mean a whole lot to me then, but as I have grown older I have come to understand the importance of being spiritually prepared. During this Second Week of Advent, prepare yourself with expectation — expectation of celebrating His birth, expectation of receiving His body and blood at the Eucharist, and the expectation of His Second Coming.
Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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