“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” (Mt. 24:44, NRSV)
The Boy Scout Motto is “Be prepared!” So the story goes, someone once asked Lord Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting), “be prepared for what?” His reply was “For anything, of course!” The trouble is, it’s hard to be prepared for everything. I carry (among many other things) spare pens, a small first aid kit, and a charger for my phone in my bookbag, and as winter rapidly approaches, I know that I need to start carrying a shovel, sand, and blankets in my car. I’d like to think that I’m pretty well prepared for anything, but I know that there are a LOT of things that could happen that I’m poorly (or not at all) prepared for.
How can we be ready for Christ’s return? Martin Luther is alleged to have said that if he knew the world was going to end tomorrow, he’d plant an apple tree. Whether Luther actually said that or not (and it’s likely he didn’t), it’s still good advice: As baptized Christians, we’re called to proclaim God’s love for the world, in our words and in our actions, and to work for peace and justice in the world. When our lives reflect God’s love, which God showed to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and when our lives share that love with those who most need it – the poor, the hungry, those who are discriminated against and oppressed by those in power – then we can know that we’re living in the kingdom of God, and that we can be ready for Christ’s return.
Let us pray: “Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your love and your Holy Spirit, make us anew to love and serve our neighbors, and to be ready with glad and peaceful hearts for the day of your coming, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
Rev. K. Russell Crouthamel, Emanuel Lutheran Church, Dayton IA.