Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!  Growing up, I remember hearing my mom say this when she heard bad or sad news.  I can’t say I was too keen on it.  I mean, I was young and had my whole life in front of me, and I didn’t really want Jesus coming back anytime too soon.  Or, at least not before our class trip to the CN Tower… or camping in Banff… or my first date… or High School grad… or going to college… or… Well, you get the picture!
Back then, the world was spread out before me, filled with possibilities and pleasures.  I still see the world spread out, but now it seems filled with so much pain and brokenness.  Globally there is unrest, turmoil, and downright frightening news.  Nigeria, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan… Even creation itself seems to be falling apart.  Flooding in Australia, snow, ice and bitter cold through Europe and North America.  And, today is the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti. 
Closer to home the suffering becomes personal.  In the past weeks we have had several deaths of church members or their families.  Friends and loved ones experiencing their own devastations.  Cancer, job losses, marriage troubles, addictions, financial concerns.  My mom’s words come back to me.  Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!
The hugeness of it all can leave me paralyzed.  What can I do in the face of all of this pain?  The overwhelming suffering tempts me to withdraw and hide.  Safe in my little ‘spiritual cocoon’ I repeat my mantra, shutting out the world.  To paraphrase an old saying, I can become so ‘Heaven-minded’ that I become ‘of no earthly good’.  Well, since this world is not my true Home, isn’t that okay?
When I look at Jesus’ time on earth, He didn’t spend His days just gazing up to Heaven.  Instead, He entered into every aspect of our pain and turmoil.  Even when He withdrew to lonely places, He did so to be refreshed and refilled in His Father’s presence, not to escape suffering.  And when Jesus ascended, He commissioned His followers to go out into all the world, continuing to reach out as He did. 
I’m beginning to see that Come Quickly, Lord Jesus is not just about someday in the future.  It is also not asking Jesus to return so we can escape the world, or throwing up our hands in dismay.  It is not abdication.  Instead, it is a rallying cry, calling Christ-followers to join the in-breaking work of our King.  We are the Bride of Jesus, and we are never more beautiful than when covered with the grime and blood and muck and mess of the world. 
Oh, yes, I long for the day when the new Jerusalem comes down and every tear is wiped away!  But, in the meantime, the cry still resounds - Come Quickly, Lord Jesus.  Come and indwell me with Your power and strength.  Holy Spirit, reach into the world through these feeble, but willing hands.  Come Quickly.  Come Today.

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