Nov. 28, 2018
Pr. Paul Cannon
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
It’s almost a tradition now. We load up the car, strap the roof top carrier to the top of the Toyota, snuggle the kids tight into their car seats, and take off for our next adventure. Inevitably, an hour or two down the road, ‘the littles’ start getting restless, and so we stop for a lunch/stretch break (usually in Madison). We unload a sleepy-eyed Isaac, and then go for Elin … diaper blowout. You can almost set your watch to it.
There were signs, if you think about it: a whine here, a whimper there. It doesn’t matter. We should have known. The little baby gets cozy in her car seat, tilted at just the perfect angle, feeling the meditative vibrations of the road … it’s the perfect storm of baby relaxation.
Forgive my crass comparison, but today, I see some similarities in Jesus’ words about signs.
Jesus warns the disciples “There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and waves.” At that time, he says, they will see “The Son of Man coming on a cloud.”
The signs were there for anybody who wanted to read them a certain way and you can see why some thought the end was near. The Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, Christians were being persecuted throughout the empire, and there were certainly natural calamities to point to as well.
But Jesus’ words to the disciples and his followers were not meant as warnings. They were meant as words of hope. The Christians in the times of Luke weren’t anticipating hard times, they were living them. The signs were already upon them. Forgive the metaphor, but the poop was already in the diaper!
Putting yourself in their shoes (or their diapers, if you will), you understand how Jesus’ words were words of hope. The Kingdom of God is near! Jesus is coming! “Raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
Perhaps you too are in the middle of difficulties. Perhaps all the signs are pointing towards hardship. Then perhaps you too should consider Jesus’ words this week as a sign of hope – a sign that God is coming (and has already come).
Hope will look a little different to everybody: a kind word just when you need it, or peaceful feeling during a familiar hymn. But the signs are there. You just have to look for them.