Day 44 – Can the day of the second coming change?
Prayer for the week
Start you day with this prayer
Lord, our Creator, we still find ourselves in liminality. We are realising, more and more, that we can never return to our lives as it were before Covid-19; and at the same time we don’t know what a life without Covid-19 even looks like. It feels as if the pause button has been pressed, while life must carry on in some way or another, and we try to keep some semblance of normality and routine.
Some of us had big dreams and plans for this year and for the immediate future, Lord, and it’s a heavy burden to know that these must be postponed or altered indefinitely. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, family gatherings, time with friends, visiting grandparents just aren’t possible at this time. We miss those we love, those we so sorely want to embrace, and whom we want to hold and reassure that we care about them and have not forgotten them.
We are worried about those that are ill and in hospital. And it hurts even more to lose someone in this time, especially as we cannot be surrounded by a caring community. Our hearts are filled with emotion, Lord. The uncertainty makes us feel rebellious, tired, sad, angry and hopeless.
May You, the great Comforter, remind us that You are close to us and that we are your children, that we breathe life through your Holy Spirit, and in doing so can inhale your comforting grace. Show us how we can still dream, still cling to the hope that a time will come when we can experience community again.
Help us, Lord, to reach out to each person who feels alone in this time. May we be representatives of You, the living God, who loves and cares for us with undying, uncomprehending love.
Read this reflection on the text for the day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent – 2 Peter 3:9.
Have you fastened your seatbelt? Here’s some shocking news: The “wrong people” are so important to God that He is willing to move the date of the second coming to save them. Yes, you read that right. Or do you think Peter is joking when he says exactly this in 2 Peter 3? Obviously not. Peter tells the mockers who laugh at the Christians because the second coming has not happened yet that God is waiting for their sake to bring on that day.
God destined no one for hell. That is why He is waiting to return as Judge; He wants even more people at the heavenly festival, and hell even emptier. Talk about people-oriented management! God will not cancel the second coming, He is only postponing it. He is waiting a little bit longer because His favourite people, the lost, have not returned home to Him yet.
On the other hand, God says in 2 Peter 3:11-12, quite surprisingly, that we can hasten the second coming. The Greek word that Peter uses here literally means to make the second coming happen sooner. Believers who spread the Good News every day through their words and actions make a real, living difference.
God will return at the right time as Judge and Saviour. He won’t be late for his final appointment with the world. We don’t have to worry about the exact date and time though. God does not work with an abstract return date. God has been journeying with people since the creation and Jesus’ recreation, to the second coming. People are the heavenly clock!
Lord, our Saviour, thank you for managing your time favourably towards humanity. Thank you for being so patient with us. Use me in your redeeming work on earth. Amen.
Liturgy for life
See the ordinary things you do in and around the house as signs of God’s care.
This week: Think differently about your cell phone charger
I don’t phone my wife often. Not because I don’t want to. I don’t have to. My office and her office are 10 steps apart in our house. We meet each other in the hallway when we want to talk about something. She doesn’t expect me to call her. But every once in a while she has to go to the city for meetings, and then I phone her … if her phone’s battery has not died.
In the last few years it has happened often that she sent me a message that her phone’s battery is about to die and that I should phone her now, otherwise I won’t be able to reach her. I’ve teased her many times about this dead cell phone and then refer to the story Jesus told about the 10 servant girls and their lamps. “Your lamp is going out again …” is a saying in our house that refers to a dead cell phone.
But what was Jesus’ true intention with this parable? Here is an attempt at a modern version.
Imagine you have a teenage girl at home. She and her highschool sweetheart were torn apart by the monster called Lockdown. The boyfriend lives on the edge of the Karoo and they don’t have good cell phone reception there. He lets her know via SMS that he will be phoning her later that day. She will make sure that her phone is charged. She might even arrange for a power bank or a generator, just to make sure her phone is ready for that call. It gets late, and she falls asleep, but when the call comes through around 00:15 she is wide awake and her phone is charged. There is great joy in the house because she could speak to her loved one again.
The point of this story is that we should wait with anticipation and hope.
Currently we must also wait with hope and anticipation for what is to come. It’s the same kind of waiting that Jesus’ parable asks of us as believers. This Covid-19 time can be a very suited metaphor to help us think about the time all believers are waiting for: the end of times, the second coming of our Lord. We should be prepared for this new time, even if we don’t know when it will arrive.
What do we do to prepare? We live according to the Bible. We love one other and ourselves. We take care of other people. We repair what is broken. We practice love in our homes.
Start a new habit this week every time you charge your phone. Remind yourself of the parable of the 10 servant girls that Jesus told and ask yourself if you are living with hope and anticipation today for the time to come. Charge your phone, fill your lamp, because the wonderful day will arrive when the call comes through.
Play with your children.
Wow! 21 Days of isolation. 21 Days in which we’re only allowed to be in our homes (or gardens) and can only go out for the most essential things like food and medicine. It can be a little rough! All the things we usually do during the day, like school, sport, church … are not happening anymore. It can really confuse you and maybe even bore you a little. These daily readings will help you to spend some time with Jesus every day in a creative and fun way. You can do these readings and activities by yourself, with your siblings, or with your entire family. Ask one of the grownups to post your activity on Facebook so that others can enjoy it with you. Tag it with #solitudecalendar #churchtogether
In the Bible we read that Jesus will come back someday to take all of his children with Him to heaven. Maybe you’ve wondered when that day will be. No one knows when it will happen, but we can know for sure that Jesus will return someday.
– Have you told anyone about Jesus? Share the story.
– What can we do so that people will know about Jesus’ love for them?.
Think about 10 things in your life that remind you that Jesus loves you and everyone else on earth. Create a hand gesture for everything that reminds you that Jesus loves you.
Look at this week’s illustration.
Talk to the people in your home or with your friends on WhatsApp about the illustration.
– What stands out to you?
– Take note of the things you see, but also of the things that aren’t present in the illustration.
– What would you like to add?
– How does this illustration connect with today’s Scripture, and how not?
Create your own interpretation of the illustration through any medium: dance, photography, videography, music, poetry, drawing, painting or short stories.
Record it and share it with us on social media with the hashtag #countdowndoodles