Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
I have been reading my Bible and watching the news and I am most certainly convinced that we are living in the end times. The war in Ukraine, the war in Israel/Palestine, natural disasters, Congressional leaders, UFO sightings, and the lasting carnage of Covid 19 have led me to believe that we are living in the end times. Now you may think me a nut, and I may be a nut, but in the final days of his life Jesus spoke about the end times:
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24
In the 2000 years since those words were spoken the world has not ended, but it was the end of the line for Jesus. He was only five days away from betrayal, arrest, the cross, and death.
The Bible is clear about what we should expect. There will always be wars and rumors of wars. Natural disasters, and unfortunate accidents are a part of the human experience. When it comes to our existence on this earth the Bible says this:
“The days of our life are seventy years
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10
I can’t help but notice that some of you are over the limit already. When I look at the beautiful but weathered faces of Trinity Lutheran Church and as I approach a 65th birthday, I must conclude that most of us are living in our end times.
I was listening to a Podcast a few weeks ago. An up-and-coming author was being interviewed. The trajectory of the interview suddenly changed when the podcaster expressed sympathy at the recent death of the author’s mother. The conversation went something like this as the author took over the interview,
“Thank you for your kindness but let me ask you, are your parents alive?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Do they live close?”
“They live four hours away just outside of DC.”
“And how often do you see them?”
“A couple of times a year.”
“How old are they?”
“So, you figure that you have another five years with them?”
“No one knows, but let’s say yes.”
“You are wrong. You don’t have 5 more years with them. From what you told me you have 10 more visits with them.”
“Well, when you put it that way, I guess that is true.”
“Does that information change the way you think?”
There was a pause.
“You only have 10 more visits with your parents, 10 more times, if you are lucky, to hug them, to hear their stories and to share a meal with them. 10, that’s best case.”
Jesus had five days to live, he was living in his end times. It is later than we think. The world is not coming to an end, but what about your world? If you had 5 days to live—what would you do? I am guessing that you would not go to Payless to buy green bananas. There would be little need to put money away for a rainy day or to keep funding your 401K.
If you had five days to live how would live? What would you do? How would you spend those precious last days? Would you taste the last drops of that vintage wine that you have been saving? More importantly, if you had five days to live, what words would you speak? And to whom? I would probably not want to spend a lot of time waiting on hold to talk to my local Verizon customer service agent located somewhere in India.
Jesus was in the final days of his life, the world would continue to spin on its axis as he hung on the cross, but his world was about to end.
How would you spend your time? What would you say and do, if you knew that you only had five days to live? Though it is very possible, it is unlikely that any of us have only five days to live. But consider this as we move now through the Fall toward Thanksgiving. You might take a moment to consider how many of these you have left. Do you have five more Thanksgivings or five more Christmas’ to celebrate? Perhaps you would anticipate more, but how many more? The scarcity of days makes each hour, each holiday more precious. The scarcity of days should give us pause to ask ourselves: How is it that I want to live? How will I choose to spend my time? What tender words do I need to say? From whom should I seek forgiveness and to whom should I speak words of forgiveness?
Jesus had but a few days to live, and he knew it. So, he gathered with his disciples; it would be his last Passover celebration, his last supper with his friends.
Soon he would be gone. Would it be the end of the world? No! The tides would continue their march back and forth, the sun and moon would dance across the sky to the horizon. Babies would be born, and wars would be fought. The seasons would change; Springtime to Summer, Summer to Fall, Fall to Winter. We are living in the end times my friends, take nothing for granted.
One beggar telling another where to find bread, I am your