Growing up with a mostly evangelical perspective on “the coming of the Lord” I had all kinds of imaginations and ideas of when the “rapture” would take place and what it would be like to fly up into the sky and be taken to the pearly gates in the clouds and see my grandpa. (And Jesus, of course!)
I wondered if I would be driving. Would I be a grown up? Would I be asleep when the Lord appears and be caught having to stand before God on Judgment Day in my pajamas? Would I be cooking? Would my house burn down after I flew through the roof?
If you are unfamiliar with questions like these and where they come from, just enjoy the Google results after searching for “Rapture” or “Left Behind.”
Years ago, I would have interpreted The Catholic Reading from the gospel this first Sunday of Advent through that apocalyptic lens. To me, this Scripture had always been about the end of the world, which has been “soon coming” for about 2000 years:
“Take heed, watch and pray. For you do not know when the time will come. For the Son of Man is like a man leaving on a far journey who left his house and gave authority to his servants and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
“Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37).
Reading this yesterday, I thought about the fact that it was Jesus who was saying to watch out for the Lord.
Was He not the Lord?
Had He not come to earth?
In the whole letter written by Mark, was it not written to show that Jesus was the Messiah, the divine in full flesh appearing and dwelling among them and trying to subtly reveal this by miracles and statements each day?
There are a lot of ideas and theories and unanimously agreed upon teachings in Catholicism and in the realm of Christianity about the “Lord’s Second Coming” and you can look into that if you would like. I do not deny that there may be a second visitation from God. But if you are reading this right now, it’s pretty certain that the day of judgment and glory is not today.
It could be tonight. It could happen tomorrow. But as far as I can tell, our world could slowly disintegrate over the next several centuries and become uninhabitable and simply burn up into the sun before it happens.
So what can we do in the meantime?
We can allow ourselves to watch for the divine in humanity today.
Look for God now.
Don’t be caught unaware! Be ready to encounter God in the eyes of the poor, in the faces of your friends, in the voice of a stranger.
Do not miss out on the opportunity to see God on a daily basis. God may not appear in the sky today, but he could appear to you in your spouse, your mom, your sister or brother. It could happen anywhere. It could happen any time. It could happen in any place.
Be watchful and do not miss the chance to see the Lord today. Look for God in one another. See God even in yourself. Be watchful; for you do not know when you may indeed see the Lord. Watch!
“May my soul be awakened to see
the holiness of God in the face of another.
My my heart be stirred from its sleep
to encounter the Lord in the eyes of others.”
Emily Lohman is a writer who believes that great things happen when you ask the big and little questions. She is a fan of noticing small details and a lover of art, music, the outdoors and animals. She enjoys discussing religion and politics and a number of other pleasantries typically avoided at dinner. She loves to work her greatest asset which she describes to be her brain. You can find her religious musings at Relevant Reflections and her curious narratives at The E.R. Lohman Essays.