The following meditation is the "Pastor's Page" for our congregation's November newsletter:
My 3 year old daughter knows that her bedtime story is never complete until I say the magic words, “THE END”. Most children’s stories (and some grown-up stories too) end with those very words. But what about in terms of our faith? Do we ever say, “THE END”?
Many thought Jesus had met “THE END” when he was sentenced to death. But death could not hold Him, and the cross was not “the end” of Him. It was Jesus who said “It is finished” (the end?) – and announced the completion of His victory over the forces of evil. They met their end at the cross of Christ. What a great day for us! Still, we look forward to “the end” in another sense…
November brings us to “the end” of the church calendar year. With the season of Advent just around the corner, we also start to think about “the end” of this age and the second coming of Christ. You will notice this emphasis on “the end” times in our lectionary readings, our hymnody and such.
In our children’s stories, we often hear that the characters lived, “happily ever after”. And I suppose the same could be true of the church. For when Christ DOES come again, and when it finally is “THE END”, we will be with Him for eternity in heaven, free from all pain, sorrow, and tears. We will live in the presence of our God, and be His people forever. The Christian faith is always focused on “THE END”. We’re always looking forward to that great and glorious day.
Finally, “THE END” is not, as common wisdom might suggest, simply the beginning. The last day is not our first day of life with God. That begins when we come to faith. Our new life in Him begins in our baptism. When the Old Adam drowns and the New Adam rises from those waters, our eternal life with God begins, and we are born into heaven. Later comes “the end” of our earthly life. Later comes “the end” of this age. But NEVER comes “THE END” of our life with God, in Jesus Christ. That’s forever.