The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. -- 1 Peter 4:7
Thursday, March 26, 2015
The Time of Ends
The thing about the end is that it can be general or particular. In Peter’s case, he was writing before the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus. There was coming a particular end to a way of life and a worldview. Josephus’ claim of over a million slaughtered seems incredible, and one wonders at how he arrived at such a number, but there can be no doubt the death toll and the aftermath were horrific. While nearness in time may be applicable in specific instances, in general we can always say that the end is “at hand” in that all things are before God and near to Him. As individuals, as nations, as humanity, we move toward the end for which we have been created.
I was thinking about this last night reading Origen. How is it that my life can matter in the vast flow of existence and consciousness? It would be as though some self-aware bit of algae on an old tire in the Mississippi thought it was keeping the river in its banks. I look too far and not far enough.
I look too far beyond my immediate circle of friends and family. There I know my words and my example, my principles and prayers have made a difference. The world has not been changed but a heart, here and there, is more open and responsive to the Spirit, perhaps. I do not look far enough if I do not raise my eyes above the close horizons of my own intellect and ability to the infinite power and grace of God. He changes hearts, and each heart is a world opening out.
We take thought as to how we are to live, consider the stewardship of our possessions in light of the fact that there is an end, and it is near, in one sense or both. I am sure this seems foreign, outmoded, and out of touch. A little later in his Second Epistle, Peter spoke of the mockers in his day who asked, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” Yet there was a catastrophic and devastating reckoning at hand, and there have been a multitude in the centuries since that time. Another end waits, if not for the whole world then for some state or some people or some city; if not for many for a few. Always, the end is at hand for each of us individually. The world ends for us, as the closing of a door behind.