Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thoughts on Advent Sunday

Today is Advent Sunday, which means a number of things

* The actual official start of the Christmas season, so all the people who have put up Christmas trees, shops selling Christmas stuff, etc, etc are no longer jumping the gun

* The start of the church's year

* The start of the Advent season in which the Christian church looks forward to the coming of the saviour.

The bible readings set for Advent during this season look to the coming of Jesus - not just his coming as a baby but as a man, and his second coming. As such they include some pretty apocalyptic stuff about the end of the world.

As I was listening to one of those readings in St James' church Whitehaven this morning, I was reminded of those people and sects who have used these passages of the bible to predict the imminent end of the world. (Canon John Kelly made the same point in his sermon a few minutes later.)

And yet, however, frightening these passages can be, the people who use them to predict the end of the world are all guilty of selective and misleading quotation out of context, of hearing what they want to hear and use while ignoring the rest. Because all of them are qualified with expressions like "No one knows the day or hour."

Interestingly, both the theories currently favoured by modern science and the teaching of Jesus have something in common in what they say about the end of the world.

Both say that it will happen: both say that we don't know when. (Jesus said that he himself did not know when the end of the world will come, he predicted that in the future people would claim to have that knowledge, and said that they would be false prophets.)

So whether you believe in the Christian religion, or whether you pay attention to what science has to tell us, the best way to live your life is to be ready if the world ends tomorrow, and to be ready if it doesn't, so that either way you have used your time well and looked after your fellow creatures.

1 comment:

Jim said...

To be fair I agree with most of what you have said. Should the world end tomorrow, well I wont know about it for long, so lets live now.

Though I disagree with the not jumping the gun on decorations.

To me putting up any decorations before the start of December is not good :)