Sunday, January 13, 2013

When is Jesus Coming Back?

Yesterday, the boys were anxious for their father to finish his work and play football with them. Corey has finished seminary (Magna Cum Laude), but he still has work to do as part of the ordination process. He'd told the boys he would finish up the question he was answering and then meet them outside.

These questions require very in-depth answers. They are questions theologians write entire books on without ever exhausting the subject. He is supposed to squeeze his own answers into about two pages per question. Corey writes as he does anything else, with much thought and purpose. So, on average, he can write about one page an hour. I tell you this so you will understand; when he said he would finish answering one question, they didn't know how far into his answer he already had written. In other words, there was no set time when he would be finished. It could have been two minutes or two hours.

I was sweeping the kitchen floor, half-listening to the kids at play and the ballgame on TV. My mind was, basically, wandering to and fro, until I heard the front door open and a heated discussion commence. I'm going to paraphrase here, because I can't remember their exact words, but you'll get the gist of it.

Haydn: Aren't you coming outside? 
David: Later. 
Haydn: But Dad said he's coming out. We can play football. 
David: Yeah, but he isn't coming right this second. I'm going to play on the computer for a while. 
Haydn: But he is coming right this minute. He said.

The argument continued in this vain until I broke in and told them when their dad would be finished. He was almost ready to play football. They had fifteen minutes or so to wait. As the front door closed and my sons disappeared on the other side of it, I thought about their debate. Something about it rang true inside of me. Then, standing on my white tile floor, a broom in one hand, I was startled with Truth, the kind of Truth that only comes in a moment of epiphany, one of my most favorite experiences in all the world, the kind of moment that makes me want to be a writer, always always always be a writer.

My sons had just acted out their own little eschatological discussion in the hallway. I played over their conversation in light of this new ray of Truth. And this is what I heard...

Christian 1: Come on already, Jesus is coming back. We have to be ready. 
Christian 2: Nah, He won't be here anytime soon. I'm gonna keep on doing my thing. 
Christian 1: No, really, He is coming back RIGHT NOW. 
Christian 2: He said he was coming back when it was time, but He didn't say He'd be back today at this time.

And on it goes. Until someone reminds us of the truth that no one knows the day or the hour but we still should be ready. Both parties are right about something. Just like my sons were each right about something. Haydn knew his dad was coming as soon as he finished writing, and David knew it would take his dad quite a while to finish writing. Only I, standing in the kitchen, unobserved, knew how far Corey had gotten into his answer and how much longer he would take before going out to play.

Jesus is coming back. In ten minutes? Ten years? Ten centuries? I don't know. But he said he was coming, when it is time. Only God the Father, standing unobserved in Heaven and in every bit of his creation, knows for sure how long before the work is finished. Neither of my sons were exactly right, but each had part of it correct. Haydn knew to be ready, that his dad hadn't lied to him. David knew there was time to live the life at hand, staying always ready to answer his father's call.

Next time you see a woman sweeping the floor, don't take her domesticity for granted. She may be solving great theological issues with a broom and a smile.

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