I was driving my car recently when I noticed a sign along the side of the road that posed the following question: When you die are you prepared to meet God?
I tend to think too much. So, I thought about this question . . . a lot . . . maybe too much. Not only did I think about this road sign and its question, I also came up with other questions. Here they are:
- Do I really have to wait until I'm dead to meet God?
- Is this sign's message supposed to scare me into good behavior?
- Am I supposed to live in fear of a judgmental God who is going to clean up the floor with me at the end?
- When it comes to preparation, isn't there a better way to live?
- And finally, and let's just say it, isn't there a more optimistic, joyful way to live with the time we have been blessed with before we croak?
So, now that I've had time to think about it, let me share that I would respond to this roadside question with this: I reject the premise of the question. Do you have another? Is that the best you got? Are you trying to scare me into loving God!?
We all know the song that boldly confesses: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so! Let's put that on a road sign somewhere. Let's share that message with others. Let's share our own experience of God. Here is one of mine:
I live in gratitude today because I have been encountered by a God that took the initiative to meet me in the midst of my unprepared life here and now. And I'm not special. God wants to do that for everyone. That's the message of Jesus. That's the message of the incarnation -- it's what we celebrate at Christmas. God came down already, in the flesh, took on our nature and our lot . . . in Jesus for you and for me, once, for all. In short, its not the end, but rather a beginning.
Take a moment (a few moments) to read over the lessons for this coming Sunday. They sound like the end is near. And it would be easy to use them to encourage fearful existence. But, as you read, listen carefully to the voice of Jesus. In these ominous sentences are words of promise and hope. What do you think?
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26th Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Prayer of the Day
O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without you nothing is strong, nothing is holy.
Embrace us with your mercy,
that with you as our ruler and guide,
we may live through what is temporary without losing what is eternal,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
2 Thessalonians 3:6–13