Tuesday, December 2, 2014

All Zipped Up

I remember my first Bible.  It was black and had a zipper around it so no important stuff stuffed in its pages could fall out during transport.  It was, of course, the King James Version, and it also featured all the sayings of Jesus in red print.  But, what I liked about it right off the bat were the pictures.  There was a Garden of Eden shot, one of Moses turning back the tide, Samson bringing down the pillars, and midst all the others, there was that mind blowing picture of Jesus standing on a cloud with angels all around Him as He made His way back to earth.  It is amazing the images which have gotten stuck in this older adult's mind when so many other things of great importance seem to defy recall.
But, one thing is certain.  No one would get excited in today's church about an image of Jesus returning to the earth.  We like those pictures of Him showing up in Bethlehem, but the Ones depicting Him coming back for a second visit are hard to find.  In fact, what is spoken of as the Second Coming is seldom mentioned in most contemporary mainline churches.  And when it is, it is like a baseball coming at you that only touches the edge of your shirt as it goes by.  No one ever really finds themselves getting smacked by this Biblical truth with such force that it leaves an impression.  We might even go so far as to say that the whole business of Jesus coming to earth a second time is the forgotten part of the story of Jesus,
Were it not for the first Sunday in Advent taking serious lectionary preachers to the texts which speak of Jesus returning, it would likely never be preached.  At best it gets one Sunday and even then, the lectionary preacher is still looking for another text, a way out of dealing with something no one really seems to be buying.  Perhaps, it all speaks to the way we want to avoid accountability at all cost.  There are a lot things which might be said about this teaching of the Bible, but surely, the word accountability is a big theme.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday there will be a day of being held accountable for what we have done with the life and the opportunity God has given us.  What a frightening thought!  Maybe that is why we want to leave this returning King up there in the clouds all zipped up inside that Bible.

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