Today’s reading: Colossians 1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1-5; 2 Thessalonians 1-3; Psalm 140
We are not supposed to be here still. . .at least according to the prediction we heard earlier this year. One man and his followers were convinced that, based on his calculations, the world would end on May 21, 2011. They purchased newspaper ads, posted billboards, and used the web to get the word out. They were quite outspoken in claiming that the Bible was the primary source for this belief.
In today’s reading, in a distant place and time, we hear the apostle Paul settling the minds and concerns of a Christian community over the issue of when the world would end. Apparently, some people had created quite a stir among the church in Thessalonica by claiming to know when Jesus would return to earth. As a result, there was more than a little anxiety over the matter, which also spawned other troubling questions, such as: “What will happen to those who have already died?” Concerns over an impending future was distracting the community from living out their faith in the present.
Over the centuries, voices have arisen from time to time to claim special knowledge about the end. Self-named prophets waste precious time, energy, and money trying to convince others of their delusions. In such times, Paul’s message to the Thessalonians offers a helpful reminder: “You know as well as I that the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, The Message) In light of this news, he urges the Thessalonians to get back to the business of living their lives now in the best way possible as a response to the grace of Jesus Christ. The same holds true for us.