is this the end?

after a long winter’s hiatus, professional golf is finally back on tv.  and thank god…i don’t know how i ever managed a sunday afternoon nap without it! 

i heard something on the broadcast this past weekend, though, that made me feel kinda’ melancholy.  there was a reference made to the penultimate american golf tournament, the us. open.  it takes place in june every year, but always at a different site.  this year’s u.s. open is scheduled to be played at congressional country club in bethesda, maryland.  the announcers started talking about future tournaments, and they mentioned that the usga has established the venue for the u.s. open all the way through the year 2019 (pebble beach, in case you’re interested).  when i first heard that, i felt a little cloud of sadness wash over me.  i had a sudden sense that the world would not be here in 2019, and i thought of how silly it was for them to plan that far in advance.

in my role as a marketplace chaplain, i get to rub shoulders with a great many non-church-goers.  the conversations are always a little more weighty when birds randomly fall out of the sky, or when a tsunami in japan kills thousands of people.  they all want to know if i think these are signals of the end of time.

our local liquor store owner always has irreverent-yet-clever little sayings on his sign.  he mocks religion (i.e.: “baptists never drink alcohol…in groups”) and i sometimes drive by just to see his latest philosophical offering.  this week, however, his sign read, “in case of rapture we’ll still be open.”  i didn’t laugh.  in fact, i felt quite sad.

the foundational concept of “your best life later” is that, as christ-followers, our hope indemnifies when the world ends.  or when we do.  the apostle said it like this…

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14)

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that wht is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 corinthians 5:4)

paul refuses to even call this earthly existence “life.”  it’s sub-life…less-than-life.  “life” is what christ-followers will suddenly realize at “the end” (death, the rapture of the church, nuclear winter…however you choose to view it).  and while i am more and more eager to experience “life,” i also drag around an increasingly heavy sense of foreboding about the destiny of some people that i love very much.  my heart’s cry is that i will display the power of god, demonstrate the love of christ, and exhibit the fruit of the spirit.  when words fail, god can make himself real to those around me as i submit myself to him.

do you get the sense that things are wrapping up?

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