The End of the World
My family and I took a 7-day Caribbean cruise in December of 2012. One of the stops we made was in Cozumel, Mexico. It just happened that we arrived on December 21 – the final date on the ancient Mayan calendar and, therefore, what some people believed would be the end of the world. I really hadn’t thought about the fact that we would be in Mexico on this specific date when I booked this cruise a couple of years in advance. It wasn’t until I was reading the daily Cruise Compass placed in our stateroom the night before that I realized how perfect our timing was!
I thought the letter that accompanied the rundown of the next day's events was quite interesting. It informed passengers who would be visiting Cozumel the next day that the Mexican authorities had issued certain restrictions including not allowing backpacks onto archeological sites, prohibiting videotaping, and cautioning “Visitors cannot shout or try to promote religious or political messages to the crowd.”
As we were discussing this over breakfast that morning, my daughter mentioned a program she had seen on television based on “Doomsday Preppers,” people who live otherwise ordinary lives but spend time preparing for the end of the world as we know it. These individuals build underground bunkers, educate themselves on long-term food storage, and are very serious about defense training. My personal feeling is that, should something catastrophic happen to destroy life on earth, I’d rather be in the midst of the carnage and completely destroyed than be part of the armed survivors whose top priority was self-preservation.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate life; I’m all about living it to its fullest. Sign me up for the AdventHealth effort to “Build a Life of Whole-Person Health!” However, as we’re all far too aware, whether you’re age 3, 30, or 103, life is uncertain. It doesn’t have to be a Mayan-predicted catastrophe. It could be illness, accident, or tragedy. Tomorrow is never a guarantee.
As a Christian, I believe that God will “supply every need” (Philippians 4:19) in this world, and I will live each day thankful for what I have been given. However, I also know there’s something better on the horizon. I can choose to take this information and live a life of self-preservation – completely focused on myself, concerned only about some self-delusional checklist of preparation tasks, and maybe shouting “religious messages” to the crowd.
Or I can embrace today and those who are on the journey with me and, in doing so, give a glimpse of what’s waiting for us after the end of this world. In his book, Messy Church, Ross Parsley writes, “The implication here is that we experience God through the love of other people. God is made real and present among us when we become experts in loving one another.”
Those who interpreted the end of the Mayan calendar as the end of our world were as wrong as others who have made similar predictions. As I look forward to 2020, I look forward to a great year here on earth and also being that much closer to the day Jesus returns. It makes me think of the R.E.M. song from the Eighties: “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”
* photo courtesy of www.flickr.com
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