We want to know when. We kid ourselves that if only we knew when, we would be ready and prepared. But would we? Will we ever be ready for God’s return?
5 I don’t need to write you about the time or date when all this will happen. 2 You surely know that the Lord’s return will be as a thief coming at night. 3 People will think they are safe and secure. But destruction will suddenly strike them like the pains of a woman about to give birth. And they won’t escape.
4 My dear friends, you don’t live in darkness, and so that day won’t surprise you like a thief. 5 You belong to the light and live in the day. We don’t live in the night or belong to the dark. 6 Others may sleep, but we should stay awake and be alert. 7 People sleep during the night, and some even get drunk. 8 But we belong to the day. So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armor. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet.
9 God doesn’t intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Christ died for us, so that we could live with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11 That’s why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing.
This passage follows a similar theme to last weeks gospel reading. Don’t sleep, stay awake. It doesn’t mean physically, if it did I would be beyond all hope!
But we should be alert, spiritually aware. And we should be watching – perhaps not just for ourselves, but watching for those who cannot watch for themselves. When someone we know is in distress, we watch over them and we watch out for them. When I am asleep, I know that the wonderful Mr Pamsperambulation watches out. That’s an element of this watchfulness for God’s coming that I’ve never thought of before.
We won’t know when God is coming. We won’t know when we will meet him. It is a sad fact of life that sudden illness or accident can strike at any time. If it happened to me today, am I ready?
God is not trying to catch us out, waiting until we’re doing something wrong to pounce. He longs for us to live with him eternally. And that means being spiritually aware, doing all we can to be ready to meet him – encouraging and helping one another along the way.
Lord may I watch
living for you.
Give me patience,
that I may watch
and watch over