I once walked into the local General Store in the community where we (Nova, Joshua and I) were living. It was a day or two before New Year’s for 2000. Everyone was anxious, wound up, fretting about what was going to happen because when those who invented the computer calendar that so many of our things ran on, was not what might have been, people freaked out over the future. There was genuine fear over how life was going to continue, given that we are so dependent on our electronic devices; everything from furnaces, to fridges, cars to computers. My family and went to spend that evening with friends. They invited us to join them for fun and games and, just in case, for heat if things should fail.
My trip to the store was an interesting jaunt. I walked into the store all bundled up because it was only -45 degrees centigrade outside. Before I had a chance to start removing at least some of the clothing to prevent sweating, someone exclaimed, “Oh, look! There is the Minister. Ask him!” One of the well-known locals came over to me and she said to me, “Sir, we were just having a chat about what this world is coming to… what do you say the world is coming to?” I answered matter of factly, saying, “To an end of course!” This brought the people in the store to a screeching halt and you could hear a pin drop wait for what was going to happen next. Realizing that they did not hear what they wanted and to allow the shock to wear off, I asked for a few minutes to go and retrieve the items I had made the trek to the store for… and it would allow me a moment to think about what to share next.
As humans, we like a level of certainty and being able to feel like we are in control. John in the Gospel (Matthew 11.2-11) wanted some assurance that the hardship and the work that he had done in proclaiming the Messiah was not wasted. He wanted to know what the future looked like. He wanted to know that his hope and faith weren’t thwarted. Jesus tells John’s disciples to go back and report what they see and hear: that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and the dead live. The poor and those in need are hearing and receiving the Good News! Blessed is the one who does not fall away on the account of how the kingdom is going to come and going to look because of me.
You and I are still waiting for Jesus to come (again). We are waiting for him to come again. What makes us doubt Jesus though he holds the future? What keeps us from participating in the incarnational ministry of the Church – of presenting and representing Christ in the community?
What did I eventually share with those people in the General Store? The Good News that I do not know what the future holds but I know who holds the future… that God holds our future. Through all the topsy turvy things that can and do happen in this life and what is coming in the next. I let them know that when they put their faith in Christ it is not a matter of holding on to him for dear life as it is to remember that he has a hold of them. No one can take them out of the palm of God’s hand. It is why he came to us the first time. It is why we wait for him now. God has a hold of us and of the situation. He is coming again. Thanks be to God for that!