I’m sitting in a Panera Bread in Johnson City, Tennessee.
I’m in Tennessee trying to finish writing a book that is due in about a month. I’m here because this location–Tri-Cities area–is where my in-laws live, so my wife and kids can enjoy being with family while I’m buried in my hole at Emmanuel School of Religion with my laptop, ideas, and a looming deadline.
I’m hungry, but I also need to keep writing, so I’m eating at the only restaurant in the Tri Cities’ area that has free wireless internet.
(BTW–from what I found on the internet, all Panera Bread restaurants are equipped with free wifi. I’m here to serve.)
Anyways . . . it’s 8:30 p.m. on July 3rd, so, apparently in Johnson City, Tennessee that means, fireworks. As I made my way to Panera Bread I made my way past hundreds of people sitting in chairs along the side of the road waiting for the big fireworks show over the city.
There they sit. Looking to the sky. Waiting for the show. They all want to be ready.
As I looked at all of the people sitting by the road, sitting in their chairs, and looking to the sky in anticipation I couldn’t help but think about the Christians in Thessalonica and the second coming.
Historians tell us that the Christians in Thessalonica had such a sense of expectancy regarding the 2nd coming of Christ that they were quitting their jobs and gathering on the hilltops, so they’d be ready–and waiting–when he came back again.
This is why Paul encourages them to “lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands” (I Thess. 4:11, NIV).
My, my . . . how things have changed.
We’ve come a long way from the hilltops, haven’t we?
We’re not only not sitting on the local hilltops expecting his eminent return, we don’t even seem to be expecting his return as we’re sitting in our local church buildings.
Jesus is coming again.
One day He will rip open the sky and come down from heaven like lightning–when we least expect it–and He’s going to take all Christians to be with Him forever.
I’m not asking you to get your lawn chair and sit next to me along the Bristol Highway looking to the eastern sky in anticipation, but I am encouraging you to sit next to me in the Church and remember with me that–as the Mennonites say–“We are living in the days of God’s patience” and one day Jesus is going to come again.
Well, Panera is closing in 4 minutes, so I better go.
I think I’ll pull off down the road, watch some fireworks, and think about Jesus.