The signs are all around us. The total solar eclipse back in August? That was a sign. The supermoon this past weekend? That was a sign. The war in Afghanistan? That’s a sign. The Black Lives Matter movement and the Blue Lives Matter movement? Signs. They tell us that Son of Man is coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. No one except God the Father can say exactly when that day will be, but the day is coming, and so is our Lord Jesus Christ. These signs we see constantly, all around us—they are fulfilled on every television, in every newspaper, in every hospital room, in every heart. Yet they’re so constant that we have become numb to them. And they’re so common that we’ve forgotten that these signs point, not to the end of the world, but to the Kingdom of God. And the Kingdom of God is near.
Don’t think that these signs just happen. When you hear of these things, and when your heart is filled with dread because you feel inside yourself what is happening all around you, remember that the Lord is allowing these things to happen. He is using the dread you feel in your heart. And He does this, not to scare you or threaten you or harass you, but to keep you focused on your goal, which is the Kingdom of God. He lets these things happen to you to draw you to Himself and to His Kingdom. After all, the Kingdom of God is not merely an “end of the world” thing. If our goal is to attain the Kingdom of God, then we must now be present, standing in the Kingdom of God on earth.
And where is this Kingdom of God on earth? It is here, present in the Holy Supper. Here we have a foretaste of the Kingdom which we will receive fully on the Last Day. While we long for and anxiously await our Lord’s second coming, we are not left comfortless and empty. Instead, we receive at the Supper an appetizer that wets our appetites for the eternal wedding feast.
How can this be? In the Kingdom of God, here at the Sacrament of the Altar, we receive the Spirit of God. He comes and lives in us. And by these holy mysteries of Word and Sacraments, the Spirit gives us the strength to strive and struggle, to push through and sacrifice, to have patience and trust so that we can endure and finally attain the fullness of the Lord’s kingdom. We do not achieve our goal by our own strength, but in the Holy Spirit.
We were made to live in this Kingdom. Our Lord tells us as much with these words: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” How can we look up? How can we lift up our hearts to the Lord our God? Only because the Father, through His Son, gives us His Holy Spirit in and with the sacramental mysteries that we receive at the Supper.
Let nothing keep you from standing before God at the Holy Supper. Receive here the strength and comfort, the consolation and hope, the joy and gladness that He offers here in His Spirit. When you stand in God’s kingdom at this Feast, then you will have no fear of what is happening all around you. Instead, you will see these horrific signs for what they really are: signals of our Lord’s imminent return, and the realization of your true goal. For Christ is coming soon. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly! In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.