Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Keep Calm, The King Is Coming!

Amongst the multitude of 'Keep calm' posters circulating in gift shops, on line etc there was one recently which caught my eye that simply said: 'Keep calm, the King is Coming!' What a glorious summation, I thought, of the Christian faith. Embodied in that 'keep calm' statement was for me the word 'hope'. The gravitational pull of bad news, which effects even Christians, means we are in danger of being pulled down by world events and losing the sense of perspective the Bible gives. The King is coming! He's got to come. Only He can sort out the mess. Only He can destroy injustice and violence and war. Not taking into account the 'last things' and not meditating on the culmination of all of Biblical prophecy means we are caught in the swirling currents of the world's pessimism. Now we must add very quickly that we are not to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good; we must weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We must show empathy with this suffering world. But we must always keep the sense of perspective and fuel the hope that is within us. This world is not going to get any better. We must be salt and light in it whilst we have opportunity, but we must not succumb to the world's climate. The King is coming! The holiday brochure fires us up for the destination. What good is a holiday journey without a destination? Our feelings, our anticipations regarding that holiday, are supremely fired by the thought of the destination. The King is coming! That's our perspective. That causes us to raise our eyes. To see beyond this world and towards a Kingdom where every tear will be wiped away, where there is no more death, no more crying. That far-off country is getting nearer every day.

I remember as a young child making the journey from Essex all the way up to West Kirby near Liverpool. My grandparents owned a fish and chip shop, which had expanded to become a general store as well. I knew that a new world awaited me: sand and fresh horizons; ice cream and soda pop. Upon arrival my grandfather had always prepared for us fish and chips, mushy peas, lashings of tomato ketchup and the fizzy utopia of dandelion and burdock, all accompanied by delicious white bread and butter! After a few days it was on to Prestatyn on the North Wales coast and the excitement of a caravan holiday: a caravan hand-built by my grandfather.  I remember running through hot sand, racing over the top of the sand dunes to behold the sea. At night, after a long day in the sun and with sunburnt shoulders, I would look out of the caravan window at the pin-pricks of light from the houses huddled under the slopes of Fish Mountain.

Every good story has a good ending. Every journey has a destination. Every night has a new morning. This is what spurs us on. The hope that the King is coming. One day the King will come. This is our glorious ending and also our wonderful beginning. Keep calm, the King IS coming!

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