November 19, 2017
Pentecost 24A
1 Thessalonians 5:1-5

 

“Live life with end of the world intensity!”  That’s what one of my favorite professors in seminary would always tell us.  That great line had a way of making its way into almost every lecture.  And when it comes to the end of the season of Pentecost, when all those hard and confusing eschatological texts appear in the common lectionary, those are the words that I remember and the words to which I cling.   “Live life with end of the world intensity!”

The writer of First Thessalonians writes, The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” While some Christians spend lots of time thinking about the so called last days, trying to figure out the signs and the seasons, even the day and the hour that the Lord might appear again, it’s important to remember that we are not called to participate in such speculative endeavors.  Instead we are called to follow Jesus, to lay down our agendas and pick up the cross, the agenda of the kingdom, a life of humble service to others, and to do it with an urgency, “with end of the world intensity!” The kingdom is at hand, we are not called to wait for it, we are called to be active in it, to be a dynamic part of its coming, today and tomorrow.

That’s what this week’s song is all about, it speaks from the point of view of “one of the least of these,” one of the world’s forgotten, one who hopes that the world might end today because that’s their only hope that they might experience the love of God.  They just don’t see the kingdom at hand.

 

      1. If The World Should End Today

 

 

If the world should end today,
Would you hold my hand?
If time should run dry,
Would you understand?
I’ve been alone one too many times
And when I die, I’d like to look into someone’s eyes
If today life ends,
Would you be a friend?

 

If the world should end today,
Could you cross the line?
Would you step beyond the fear?
Step out of your mind?
I’ve been untouched for such a long, long time
My heart beats slow, Can you make me feel like I’m alive
If today life ends,
Would you be a friend?

 

Yesterdays are only memories of the fall
Tomorrows only hope is that it won’t come at all
That leaves today, If you pass my way?

 

If the world should end today,
Would you set me free?
If the dream finally appears,
Would you look at me?
I’ve been alone one too many times
And when I die I’d like to look into someone’s eyes
If today life ends,
Would you be a friend?
Would you hold my hand?
Would you understand?
If today life ends,
Would you be a friend?

 

Surely the hope of “the least of these” need not be found only in the world’s end?  Surely God’s grace and love is present for them now, today, in this present hour?

God has called each of us to “Live life with end of the world intensity!”  God has called each of us to live each day as if it were the last day.  And that means urgently following Jesus by loving neighbor, stranger, and enemy; by seeking after the peace and justice of the Beatitudes, by reaching out to “the least of these” that are all around us, by stepping over the lines that keep us away, by stepping beyond that fear that keeps us insulated, by stepping out of all the excuses that control our minds.  That is how the kingdom will come today!

So “live life with end of the world intensity” by using your gifts and talents to make a difference, by following your passion in ways that will shape the world anew, and by seizing the day and every opportunity that comes your way to witness to the amazing grace and all encompassing peace of God, by being a dynamic and vital part of the kingdom that comes today!  Amen.

 

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