Lots of conversation in the last couple of days with Beve's brother and sister-in-law, much of it revolving around Grampie, of course. I took him in for a re-check of his re-attached retina Wednesday and we were deeply disheartened to discover that new tears have developed in the retina. So early Saturday morning another surgery will be performed down in Seattle, and the arduous recovery starts all over again. I felt sick to my stomach Wednesday afternoon, thinking of him having to go through it all again. Worrying that he won't be anymore successful in complying with the protocol than he was this time. Beve's brother (oh, so helpfully!) suggested we get someone to watch him 24-7 this time. When we told him that had been in place since the first surgery, he said, "Well, you have to get someone else to just sit there every second--not even help Thyrza, then." I don't mean to sound catty, but it's easy for him to say as he drive back across the state. Easy and unrealistic, considering Thyrza is actually part of the compote of needs in the equation. Sigh.
And we had some conversations that tend to come up when this family gets together. Beve's brother thinks apocalyptically. These days he's quite certain Armageddon is almost here, and that we must be ready. He cornered Beve the other night and told him what we need to do--own our home outright, be debt-free-- to prepare for the return of Christ. As we prepared for bed that night, Beve told me about this conversation. I observed that it was probably good that I hadn't been in the room when this conversation had taken place, because I know exactly what I would have said. What we need to do is "Live lives worthy of the gospel." 1 Thessalonians 4 says exactly this. Paul (and all of the apostles) thought that Christ's return was imminent. And he counseled the Thessalonians to live in ways that pleased God, so that whether it came soon (as he believed) or didn't, we would live together with Him. Pleasing Him. Becoming more like Him, growing up into Little Christs.
Every generation of Christians has believed that the day of His return would be in their lifetimes. And, of course, some generation will be right. But it seems to me that if a person has to change a great deal of his or her life in order to be 'ready' for that return, something is very wrong with that person's life. Perhaps (hmmm, dare I say likely) such a person is not living as a little Christ today. Christ as fire-insurance and Christ as end-of-the-world insurance are equally flawed motivations for clinging to Christ. Living with Him, allowing Him to shape the lives we live today--on this earth as it is--is so much bigger than two motivations. If He isn't changing you this day, changing you as you sit down at tables and eat with them, talk with them. If He isn't breathing through you as you interact with co-workers and with your children, then perhaps the Gospel isn't being lived out in you.
The good news is that it can be. Today. Not as down-payment for tomorrow, but starting right now, this day. When the Word says, "This is the day that the Lord has made," it also means that His Kingdom is here and now. Here. Not at some point in the future when the Incarnate one comes in Glory (and yes, I do look for that day--whether alive or asleep--with great hope!), but now with the Holy Spirit. Who is exactly the same as the Incarnate one. Do you get that? He is here. He is here and He is not silent. Live as if you believe it. Then, whatever happens, it really doesn't matter.
Phew, that was quite the rant. Happy fat Friday.