17th September 2020

Keeping Watch 

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Matthew 24:42 (NIV)

20 years or more ago I had a short conversation with someone I met in the course of my work. Somehow we got on to world conditions. I don’t remember the exact words, but our talk went along these lines: I explained that despite how bad things looked, Jesus would return and bring peace. He corrected me and told me that Jesus had already returned and was living in Islington. I asked him how he knew this and he said he’d read a book about it. Well I don’t know what book he’d read, but it certainly wasn’t the one I’ve read which tells me that far from descending to live an obscure (and pointless?) life in inner London, Jesus will return with an army of angels and the blast of a trumpet and be seen by every eye (Matthew 24:30-31). It’s a vivid and startling image, made all the more dramatic by being totally unexpected, as we read in Matthew 24:44, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” If anything should give us a sense of urgency this should.

Do events unfold ‘suddenly’? When we celebrated the 2020 new year, who would have foreseen the dramatic changes that are altering our world society even as I write. We may suspect that Jesus will not return this year, or next, or for a hundred years. It may not happen for years, but it could be today! Don’t say “I don’t think it will be.” Jesus said it will happen on a day when we don’t think it will be!

The return of Jesus Christ will be a great and wonderful event for mankind, bringing huge and positive changes. But it will be a big shock for many. All will bow before the Lord of all the earth and many will wish they’d lived their lives differently. For sure Jesus will be a merciful and compassionate Judge, but do any of us, Christian or not, want to appear before him ashamed of our slovenly or careless lifestyle? Jesus is not coming back to pick holes in our lives, he’s coming because he loves us and wants to bring all people into his kingdom. He wants all to learn to love God and to love our neighbour. God loves us and our neighbour needs us, especially at such a time as this. So let’s do our best at this difficult time to really live the Christian life we profess. When that great day of Jesus Christ suddenly appears, we’ll be glad we did.

Prayer
Lord, we don’t know when you’re coming for us. Until you do, empower us to honour your name by encouraging and serving our brothers, sisters and neighbours in this present crisis.
Amen

Study by Doug Bass

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About the Author:
Doug Bass is a member of Grace Communion International. The closest congregation for Doug and his wife, Maureen, is in Exeter.

Local Congregation:
WCG Exeter
America Hall
De La Rue Way
Pinhoe
EXETER
EX4 8PX
Visitors welcome but please ring first as we do sometimes change our venue.

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Armstrong
Phone:  01392-421066
Email:  exeter@gracecom.church

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