Well, the end of the world has come and gone again. They said it would be the Apocalypse, but the end did not come. Somehow the Blood Moon was supposed to signal the end but the “curse of the day after” reared its head. That is the way every claim to know the Apocalypse has ended… nothing happened and life kept going forward. That has happened a lot in the last century.
It’s not just for the Religious however, as a culture we seem to fear and yet enjoy trying to guess the end. Somehow we know that there will be an end of some sort, and want to be ready for it or at least that is what we would like to think. In reality however, it seems that we like to be afraid. Here are just a few that I can think of from the top of my head:
- People were scared on the year 1984 due to the book by George Orwell
- We were terrified that every piece of technology would stop when computers would think it was the 1900’s at the start of the new century.
- We were sure the end would come in 2012, because the Mayans stopped making additions to their calendar. There even was a movie made for this.
- There were countless predictions of when Jesus would return a la Hal Lindsey or the Left Behind series. One of the most recent (besides the Blood Moon) was on May 21, 2011 by Harold Camping.
- There are always those non-dated (or date changing) prophecies of peak oil, but will the world of Mad Max ever happen outside of a comic book convention?
- And of course there are those who state that the polar ice caps will melt or the whole earth will freeze over or that some catastrophic event will happen due to Global cooling/warming/climate change at any point in the neat future. There have been many movies on this too.
Why do we claim things like this? I think it is because we are truly afraid of there being an end, so every once in a while (or all the time) we remind ourselves that our small lives do matter and to take advantage of the moments we have. Yet, this does not happen and this continual fear does not lead to a change in behavior but in fact only adds worry. We scare ourselves only to scare ourselves as if this was a form of entertainment. People may choose to party away the end, or to hide holding onto the ones they love fearful of losing what they hold dear. We focus on the end of the world but never on the end of our sin.
There are two things I have to say on this:
1. We as Christians need to remember what Jesus said about the end in Matthew 24:3-5, 36:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Read the whole passage for more detail.
See we do not know when that end will come, so we should STOP TRYING TO GUESS! We are just making fools of ourselves and besides the world does the same thing. Why should we emulate the world in fear? Instead of being people who guess and worry we should be the people who appreciate the beauty of an event. Let those in the world live in fear, because we have a great hope. This hope is in the Resurrection of which Jesus is the first.
2. We do not need to fear that our lives are small and that we need to be significant in the final moments. As Christians we should follow the advice of G.K. Chesterton where he wrote:
“The carpe diem religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people. Great joy does, not gather the rosebuds while it may; its eyes are fixed on the immortal rose which Dante saw. Great joy has in it the sense of immortality; the very splendor of youth is the sense that it has all space to stretch its legs in.”
We are important because we are human and have joy that our lives have meaning no matter what happens to the world. We should never live in fear of what tomorrow will bring but instead rejoice in the ‘Great Revealing’ as the true Apocalypse happened thousands of years ago with the Incarnation: Rulers were scared, angels appeared, and God became one of us. The world did end that night those years ago, and in its place was revealed the greatest gift of hope that the world will ever receive.