Last Things First
“Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” – James 5:7-8
What are you looking forward to?
Is there an event or a visit taking place in the days or weeks to come that has you excited? Perhaps, you’re looking a bit farther into the future and you’re dreaming of seeing little ones grow big or watch a well thought out plan come to fruition.
It’s common for us to look to the horizons and to imagine that which has yet to be.
The people in the early church were no different. However, according to the scriptures, they were transfixed on one thing in particular.
There is this fun little story in the first chapter of Acts. It says that after the resurrection Jesus gave his disciples some final instructions and then was “taken up into a cloud”. The scriptures say that the disciples stood there, staring into the sky. Eventually, two angels come from the heavens and essentially say, “Move along! There’s nothing more to see here!” In addition to getting the disciples to disperse they say, “someday he will return in the same way you saw him go.”
From that point on the early church was focused. They were convinced that the return of Christ was imminent. Each day brought the possibility of being “The Day”: the day when all wrongs would be made right; the day when the enslaved would be set free; the day when the wounded would be made well; the day when God’s kingdom would come, on earth as it is in heaven.
This week we will explore the way that looking ahead shaped the early church. How did their forward-facing fixation influence their day to day life? How did their longing for the fullness of Christ’s presence form them? And what would such a perspective mean for us today.
So I ask again, what are you looking forward to?