I had a round of meetings this week – the ELCE Pastors’ Conference, the clergy meeting be-tween the ELCE and the ‘other’ British Lutherans – the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, and the ELCE’s Executive Council. One item was mentioned, discussed and promoted at each of them – Lutheran Radio UK. (Yes, I think this certainly qualifies as ‘product placement’!) For little ELCE to have an internet radio station going now 19 months and broadcasting 17 programmes (most of them are ELCE made) 24 hours per day 7 days per week for a global audience of around 26,000 per week and growing is very encouraging. Two LRUK programmes are now being broadcast by a radio station in Nebraska and Kansas. You can hear LRUK at www.lutheranradio.co.uk.
Here’s part of my programme last week – answering a question about the end of the world:
Why do I have little regard for the details of the end of the world? Because I am not alone now. Jesus is not an absent landlord who will suddenly turn up to check on the tenants. Using the parable of the tenants in the vineyard you might say God is a landlord – and I’d agree – but I said absent landlord. Surely one of the truths of the resurrection and of Pentecost is that Christians – followers of Jesus – are not alone in this world – struggling on by themselves – looking up to heaven seeing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit lounging on deck chairs by a pool drinking margaritas and looking down at us and saying ‘There’s a path there for you, climb up, we’d love to meet you’? A key point of Christianity is that we are not alone – that Jesus is with us now – through words, water, bread and wine – he accompanies us, walks with us like he did with the disciples to Emmaus – and supports us. Yes, this truth is a faith truth – we believe it to be true – we trust God’s Word and it is not part of our experience per se – but we grow in this relationship with Jesus and over time he guides and shapes our thoughts, words, deeds, and even experiences. Christian discipleship is living by faith and not by sight – living today by God’s Word, by Jesus – and secure that the future – the tomorrow and the one that has our end in this world in it – is already secure in God.
Sometimes people get hung up about the 1000 years mentioned in Revelation. Ah ha we say – a time reference – and we miss the point of the message that it is a description of life in the new age – the Messianic Age with Jesus now. We are told this to be assured that God is in final control and while he lets this world spin and allows us freedoms to live – nobly but also to do a lot of damage – yet God will bring about his plans despite us at times and despite the desire of sin to be in control and the wrecking plans of the demonic. Our days can be good or bad – and we have a lot to do with that – but they are still all ultimately held by God and in Jesus we can live with him in this world and not be overcome by this world or paralysed by whatever future we might see. The end of the world is in God’s hands and for Christians it is secure. Now is also in God’s hands and not worrying about the future as such – while still living responsibly each day for ourselves and the next generations – we face today and the future with confidence. God is in the midst of his people – the calendar date is irrelevant.
Living with Jesus and sharing the good news about him is what LRUK and the ELCE and us here at Ascension are all about. — GS