â€œWhat was I thinking?â€
When I was sixteen years old my dad said to me, enjoy your life because it goes quickly and in what will seem like no time, youâ€™ll be my age and I remember my assessment at the time. Your age, goodness thatâ€™s so far away it will take me two life times to reach it, and that he was at the grand old age of forty years old at the time, I wonder now-just â€œwhat was I thinking?â€
Time flyâ€™s and in March 2012, shortly after arriving in Dubbo and some fifteen plus years after having played my last game of Aussie Rules Football I returned to the training track for the Dubbo Demons Aussie Rules Football Club ready to burn up the track and as we set off in the warm up laps I saw possibly the slowest runner Iâ€™ve ever seen and that I couldnâ€™t keep up with him was somewhat a significant dent to the ego.
Funnily enough, that very night the president of the Lutheran Church at the time rang me up to see how I was settling in and after I had said that I had been to footy training but had to leave early because I had to attend a church meeting that night, laughed and made a suggestion that it might be wise to have a church meeting to attend every footy training night.
John Lennon once said that â€œLife is what happens while you are busy making other plansâ€ and indeed It would seem that while I was distracted on other things during those fifteen or so years, something had happened to me that I didnâ€™t realise until that fateful night and to say I was caught unawares is somewhat an understatement.
Distracted and caught unawares like to which Christ talks of in todayâ€™s Gospel reading where he warns of the dangers of getting so caught up in lifeâ€™s daily activities like those of Noahâ€™s time, that though Noah preached to them the coming flood and offered them a way out with free tickets aboard the Ark, they did not heed his warnings until it was too late. So too Jesus says will it be with His return. And that it will be at a time that we do not expect, whether in earthly death or still standing as we see Him coming in the clouds we must be always ready.
So how do we get ready?
What is interesting is that in our epistle reading two weeks ago, St. Paul after having through the Holy Spirit brought the Thessalonians to understand and believe in what awaits them in the return of Christ, has a crack at them because theyâ€™ve decided thatâ€™s all that matters and have decided to just kick back and smell the roses until that day.
Contrastingly, those of Noahâ€™s time after seeing him build a boat for about seventy years in a place where it didnâ€™t much rain and was nowhere near the sea seemingly get it in the neck for eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage and getting on with life.
That the Thessalonians certainly seemed ready but get hauled over the coals for being idle and Noahs mob miss the boat because they are not being idle begs the question of us and how we are too be ready to board the Ark to safety of our times in that of Jesus Christ.
But Jesus does not say to get ready, but to be ready and at this given point in time we either are ready or we are not ready to meet him because we either are already on the His ark or we are not.
Similar the question is not do you want to leave this earth yet or not because that is subjective as there have been times when I most certainly have and times like now when I wouldnâ€™t mind sticking around for quite a while yet.
Thankfully knowing if you are ready or not is neither subjective nor undecided because Christ does not sit on the fence in such matters and to be ready is to believe in what he has told us in His Words of the Gospel. Being that itâ€™s not what we think or do, but what He has done and knows.
I mentioned one other time that a noted theologian asked our class how do we grow as Christians and after we offered all these pious replies, simply told us that to grow as a Christian is too come to know daily of what it means to kneel before the cross and understand our cry of â€œLord have mercyâ€.
To kneel at the cross, whether it be days where we are clinging to life with our fingernails or flying like an eagle we come before Christ not saved through good works and pious living nor discarded because of our ills and wayward ways. But kneel at the cross of Christ be it as Mother Theresa or the thief on the cross and are given mercy and eternal life in faith in what Christ has done alone.
In todayâ€™s Gospel Jesus tells us that â€œtwo men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and the other one leftâ€ just as with the two thieves of the cross next to Jesus, one taken and one left. Sets of twos not separated by what they were doing or what they had done, but separated by knowing Him and trusting in what he had done for them.
For one man from the field, one women grinding at the mill, a thief and I assume Mother Theresa, they no longer need to be concerned with any subjectivity of if they either are or are not good enough to reside with their Lord in paradise for they have now realised the promise given to them by Christ, that in Him and trusting in Him alone never again will they suffer hunger, tears or death.
So what of us? Should we knowing the truth of what awaits us sit around like the Thessalonians and unconcerned of life around us? Or get busy with life like those of Noahâ€™s time and risk missing the boat?
Neither and both because kneeling at the cross of Christ you have been forgiven and like the Thessalonians most certainly that is all you need to do and know. Neither and both because like those of Noahâ€™s time we are to be part of the community, but not through being separated from the Ark of Christ but because we know we are already on it.
We donâ€™t get ready to meet Jesus as we either are or we are not and which of the two comes back to not focussing on ourselves but on Him. And in focussing on Christ alone and kneeling before Him and asking for His mercy and forgiveness you have been saved and most certainly will dwell with Him in paradise.
Kneeling at the cross of Christ is to know what awaits us when we meet him without any subjectivity or doubt. Yet as the day of that promise is still yet to come, for now we live our today’s in the here and know and though some days will bring storms and some fine weather, knowing in the truth we live opening our lives to those around us that they too will see the still open door to Christ that they too be taken. To open our lives not to only one man in the field, one lady grinding in the mill or one thief bearing his sin, but to the others as well that they come two by two as they hear Jesus Words beckoning they join Him on His Ark of Mercy to safety and life.
In faith in Jesus alone you are ready to meet Him today; pray that through us others may too become ready. Amen.