+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening – A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading -Matthew 24:29-51 (NLT)
“Immediately after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
be ready all the time
“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
– Matthew 24:44 –
Watchful preparation is necessary since no one knows the day, the hour, the month, or the year when Jesus will return. The alternative is to live life as usual without regard to the King’s return. Jesus deliberately discouraged believers from setting dates so that we would always be ready for his return. But that’s not easy to do since the daily grind, tends to lull us into dangerous complacency.
It’s normal for even remarkable signs of an impending change to have no effect on people. For example, when TV meteorologists announce the coming of a hurricane or tornado, there are always some people in its path who refuse to seek safety. All the more so when meteorologists hype the danger and often get it wrong.
Questions for consideration:
- How do you prepare for an impending natural disaster such as a hurricane, or tornado? Please explain.
- Have you ever ignored the warnings of TV meteorologists? Why? What happened? Please explain.
- Earthquakes, on the other hand, occur suddenly without waning? How would you prepare for an earthquake? Please explain.
- Jesus’ return is likened to something between a hurricane and an earthquake – there will be warning signs, but it will happen suddenly? What would it take for you to be prepared? Please explain.
- As a believer caught up in the daily grind, what sort of things lull you into complacency regarding Christ’s return? Please explain.
- What can you do to live as a faithful, sensible servant of King Jesus, always ready for his return? How would that change your priorities, or lifestyle? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: For Watchfulness (Lancelot Andrewes)
Thou, who with thine own mouth hast told us that at midnight the bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, “The bridegroom cometh!” may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, or forgetful of the souls for whom he died, for whom we watch and pray. And save us, O Lord. Amen.
“I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130)” – Shane & Shane
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen