God’s comings

Daily Reading for November 9 • The Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Why are so many Christians uncomfortable with the Second Coming? I think it is because in the past five centuries, the mainline churches of western Europe and North America have largely lost the sense of the transcendent. Sophisticated, modern people no longer take for granted the existence of a reality beyond what can be touched, measured, and managed by human ingenuity. The Bible and the church’s liturgy may say otherwise, but for many people, even many Christians, God is no longer seen as moving and acting in his world. If we want something done, we go to the union hall, a psychiatrist, our congressman, a lawyer, or a doctor. Then, if all that fails, we may “take it to the Lord in prayer.”

The Incarnation lies at the heart of the Christian story, and that doctrine arises out of belief in a transcendent reality. Without the transcendent, the idea that God became man, Word became flesh, is nonsense, because there is no God to become man, no Word to become flesh. Jesus becomes merely a great teacher, example, or pattern for healthy living. The reason many modern Christians are uncomfortable with the idea of the Second Coming is that their worldview doesn’t allow for any comings at all. They have lost sight of any transcendent reality that might have or could have come to earth and assumed human flesh. Those who cannot see God moving and acting in his world, whose lives have not been touched, much less transformed, by the First Coming are understandably bewildered by talk of a Second Coming.

From A Gracious Rain: A Devotional Commentary on the Prayers of the Church Year by Richard H. Schmidt. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com

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