At the end of the Church’s year, as we approach Advent, the issue of the ‘end times’ often comes up in the readings at the Eucharist: the return of the Lord Jesus in glory, the long-expected “Day of the Lord.” St. Paul encourages us not to speculate because Christ has promised that he will surely come – suddenly - as birth pangs come upon a mother or a thief comes in the night (an image also used by Jesus).
Throughout history some Christians have worried about when the Lord will come but Paul urges us not to get caught up in futile speculation because only God knows the future. It is a waste of time to dream away the present for an imaginary one.
Instead, Christians should be alert to the here and now, awake and sober, ready to receive Christ when he comes – not just at the end of time, but always. The Lord is constantly coming to us.
Collect for the 2nd Sunday before Advent
whose blessed Son was revealed
to destroy the works of the devil
and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:
grant that we, having this hope,
may purify ourselves even as he is pure;
that when he shall appear in power and great glory
we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;
where he is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.