End Times Response by Priest and Parishioner Response
I'd like to offer an observation or two on this whole "end times" thing.
You know, I can't help thinking about a very devoted Muslim mystic who converted to Chrisianity and became very well-known for his writings: a man by the name of Kahlil Gibran, who was universally respected as a man of spiritual depth.
Someone once interviewed Gibran and asked him, "What would you do if you knew for a certainty that the world was going to end, tomorrow?" He responded, "I'd plant a tree."
Our faith and our hope are in Jesus. Not in His second coming, or in whatever else that is wearing His Name in order to distract us, but in Him, Personally.
If we have realized our sinfulness and turned to the Lord for His protection and help, and surrendered our lives to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we have undergone Metanoia and have entered onto the path of Theosis. Our every breath touches Heaven. The Lord is alive and well and standing right here with us. Our proximity to God is not measured by time or space, but by our attitude
Worrying about when the Lord is returning is a distraction. He will return when the Church gives up. We are the Body of Christ, His Presence in the world. He wants us to be inviting people into His Kingdom, praying and helping people --planting trees-- until we look up and see Him in the sky.
He wants His Church praying, growing. hungry for souls and working for the Good right up to the end.
The Lord will return when we quit. When we are finally too tired to fight, when we just say the heck with it all and lie down, and all the filth and discouragement is just about to roll over us--there He will be. That's when He comes to us here, in our shot-to-pieces, defeated moments, to bring us new life--and that is when He will come to earth, to give Life itself new life.
In the meantime, the best thing to do is remain in Him. Read the Bible. Immerse ourselves in things like the "Pearl of Great Price" and the "Philokalia." Pray, deeply and quietly, and let the Holy Spirit move within us and transform us from glory to Glory.
Christ is coming! Hallelujia!
So, let us like wise brides not concentrate on being here (because we already are), but upon having our lamps full when He arrives.
Response by Parishioner to Father Jim
Thank you so much for posting that very uplifting commentary with regard to the end times.
I am not orthodox and was a member of Orthodox Christianity some years ago. I decided to make an honest commitment to pursuing orthodoxy and appreciate being allowed back here.
Your post really gave me a lot of
peace about the "end times" issue. In Protestantism and the Charismatic*
movement (my background) it seems to take center stage in many sermons, bible
studies, etc. While people should be aware of prophecy, people can easily become
fixated on certain issues to the point where they in fear all the time.
There are so many groups today who use "the rapture" as a means to incite fear and freeze people, stopping them in their tracks, in the event of Christ's return. It can steal joy and push away potential believers. For me, rejoicing in each day and looking at each day as an opportunity to serve the Lord is far better than to worry about things that have not yet happened. Not putting off until tomorrow what one can do today.
Kissing your right hand, in Christ. –Shannon
* (Cultic form of Protestantism which has as their theological understandings such ideas that are wholly against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ - "Cultic" = Pentecostalism, Church of Christ, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and many others)