Given the conversation Dave Barrat was having with his listeners this week, I’m just pleased to have made it to the weekend. Apparently, according to some scientists, we may be close to a global catastrophe – the end of the world even. And so, what Dave wanted to know was, ‘If the end of the world really is coming, how would you spend your last few days or hours?’ Would you sell all your belongings and go and live in a cave? Would you stop worrying about the credit crunch, perhaps, and blow all your money on luxuries? Or just tell the boss where to stick his job and spend your time with those you love?
It’s a good question, with many valid responses.
But what if the end of the world isn’t so much an ending as a beginning, or even a renewed world in continuity with this one? How would you respond then?
The book of Revelation suggests that one day, at the end, there will be a renewal of this world – there will be no more suffering or death, poverty, hunger, injustice or environmental meltdown. And informed by that understanding, what Jesus did, was to say, ‘Why don’t you live as if the end of the world is coming.’ Not by selfishly doing your own thing or running around in a blind panic, but actively seeking to bring the hope of that God-given future into the present by working for justice, giving to the poor, caring for the environment and bringing healing, wholeness and joy into the here and now. Which I guess is a good response, for even if God turns out to be a delusion, at least we will end up with a better world.