The End is Near
Nobody wants to admit it. Nobody wants to think about it. Nobody wants to believe it. The end is near. It is nearer today than it was yesterday. On the surface we are forced to admit that today we are closer to the end than at any time in our history. As Orthodox Christians we are expected to live with this expectation. As far are we know, the end will come today, and we had best be ready.
Here’s the thing. We never know how much time we have left to repent. That must always be our message. It was the message of Holy Week, and it must still be the message. I have experienced too many funerals of young people to forget how fragile life is. Let’s face it. Either Christ is coming for us, or we are going to Him. Either way, that day is closer today than yesterday.
At that time, the Pharisees took counsel against Jesus and said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.” Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”John 12.19-36
Christ was warning those who hear Him to be ready. Some were. Some weren’t. Some believed. Some didn’t. The first Christians lived as if Christ’s warning was for them, and that He would return at any moment to rescue them. Just because He hasn’t come yet, doesn’t mean His warning is any different.
The world is filled with darkness, but because Christ is Risen, we have the Light to guide us. Instead of being afraid of the dark we have the blessing to let the Light of Christ shine and overcome the dark. Instead of being lost in the night. We have the Light of Christ to get us through the night so we can bless us. This was the message of Holy Week and must still be the message.
Tomorrow is the Apodosis (Leavetaking) of Pascha. That means tomorrow is the last day for us to say and to sing Christ is Risen until next year. It means the end of one season and the beginning of another in the Church. Here’s what is doesn’t mean.
It doesn’t mean that we stop keeping our vigil waiting for Christ to return. It doesn’t mean that we ‘move on’ with our life thinking we can ‘pick it up again’ next year for Great Lent. It doesn’t mean anything more than we no longer say and sing Christ is Risen, nothing else.
The Church invites us today and everyday to walk in the Light of Christ. The world is darkness that can overtake us if we allow it. Just because we don’t say or sing Christ is Risen doesn’t give the darkness any more power. In fact, it has no power unless we give it. So….don’t give it.
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