Expecting and Hastening
Despite a few bogus prophetic tremors the eschatological landscape remains intact. 2012 brought no upheavals or continental shifts. The only thing that may be drifting is public confidence in prophecies in general. The “boy who cried wolf” effect kicks in pretty fast after a few false alarms.
But it’s precisely at times like this that I’m reminded of 2 Peter 3:12.
Expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God…
Everyone’s expecting. Who’s hastening? The fever of expectation has been embraced by Hollywood and commercialized. There’s always a market for end of the world stuff. And I suspect that’s true because of a latent suspicion within people that the world will actually end one day (“end of the world” isn’t really accurate, but that’s for another time). The only question is when. Not 2012, that’s for sure.
Public excitement about these kinds of things are like blips on the radar- vanishing as quickly as they appeared. And then it’s back to the mundane continuum of life – planting, building, buying, selling, marrying, being given in marriage.
These cycles of peaked curiosity in the end, mask the real situation. The need is not to know a future date, but to make a present decision.
In whatever direction mankind as a whole evolves, rising or declining, God is there. He is there as the first and last reality.
What does this mean for man? That he cannot take existing things in this world and society as definitive. That for him neither the world nor he himself can be the first and last. That the world and he himself simply as such are utterly relative, uncertain and unstable. That he is therefore living in a critical situation, however much he likes to close his eyes to it. He is pressed to make a final decision, to accept the offer to commit himself to the reality of God, which is ahead of him. It is a decision in which everything is at stake: an either-or, for or against God.
Despite the submergence of the apocalyptic horizon, the appeal has lost none of its urgency. A conversion is peremptorily thrust upon him. A new way of thinking and acting is urgently required. This is an absolutely final choice: a reinterpretation of life, a new attitude to life, a new life as a whole. Anyone who asks how much time he has left to live without God, to postpone conversion, is missing the future and the present, because by missing God he misses also himself. The hour of the finally definitive decision is here and now, not at an end-time–calculable or incalculable–of man or of mankind. And it is wholly personal for each and every one. The individual cannot be content–as he often can be in psychoanalysis–without enlightenment about his behavior, without having to face any moral demands. Nor can he shift the decision and the responsibilty to society, its defective structures and corrupt insitutions. He himself is pressed here to commit himself, to give himself. In metaphorical terms the question of the precious pearl, the treasure in the field, becomes wholly personal for him.
-Hans Küng, On Being a Christian, p. 225