Christ Will Come Again

Jesus in BabylonEvery New Year when I was a kid I would wonder to myself, “will this be the year that Jesus returns?” This was partly because I was surrounded by a lot of church-talk about the second coming when I was a kid and partly because I was just fascinated by the apocalypse. (In my years of working with children and teens I’ve noticed that a surprising number of them are interested in the end of the world. The movies they watch and the video games they play have something to do with that, I think.) So, here it is, the year of our Lord 2015. As a child I just assumed that Jesus would be back by now, or that we would at least have colonies on the moon and flying cars to keep us entertained while we’re waiting.

I don’t think much about Jesus’ second coming any more. Usually once a week is the norm – when we say the line in the Eucharistic Prayer “Christ will come again.” Some people do think about that great gettin’ up morning on a regular basis – and I’ve noticed something about those people. For many of them (not all) this world and this life have proven to be very difficult. If you are poor, or suffering persecution for your faith, or struggling with chronic illness, the day of our Lord’s appearing is something you long for. You look forward to a day of healing, of justice, and of resurrection.

Some time ago our Bishop here in Western North Carolina was speaking about the resurrection and he humorously commented on the way Episcopalians sometimes trail off to a bit of mumbling when we say “Christ will come again” – many of us seem to have some doubts. He then observed that it may be that many Episcopalians are doing quite well in this present life and therefore aren’t particularly interested in the life of the world to come. (Just a note: he did not say this attitude was a good thing.)

If this New Year finds you suffering, take heart: the day of the Lord is nearer now than when we first believed. If this New Year finds you overflowing with blessings, do not forget to join Jesus  in his solidarity with the downtrodden, the outcast, and the persecuted. Do not forget to long for the day when he will make all things new and do not fail to say with boldness every Sunday, “Christ will come again.”

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. lLeona Forste on

    Its nothing new to know that the young in the traditional American family don’t necessarily want to escape this life. You hear it all the time, you hear it all the time that most of the people you know believe in heaven, they just aren’t in a hurry to get there,
    All that changed for me from the early childhood until this past year when this body began to show wear and tear.
    I had a heart attack at the age of 73, so “Thy kingdom come” was looking more eminent and even a little more a pleasant direction. When I was laying in ICU and my heart stopped beating I went into an expanse of eternal white surroundings and began to tell God I was ready to go if that’s what he wanted in my life. I was in no pain or suffering but was talking to the Father and then whisked back into the ICU room.
    My conversation with God seemed a long time but in reality was probably not. The nurse was yelling at me but I didn’t hear her. My point is that at that moment I was ready to go…except I asked to be with my husband a little longer if that was Gods will for me. So here I am writing this note and still here. Jesus has come for me and is with me. But we are here for a time awaiting a more inclusive gathering. But the older this body gets, the easier it is the pray, They Kingdome Come!

  2. Jonathan Stepp on

    Thanks for sharing your experience Leona!

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