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The Rev. Mark Sargent Mark Sargent

Mark Sargent is a retired United Methodist minister who works in the private sector and resides in Rome, GA.

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Bringing The End to The Present

December 10, 2009

It's Advent.  And, as you know, the early Sundays in Advent invite the Church to reflect upon things eschatological.  Just a couple of weeks ago, we heard Luke's Jesus speaking about things apocalyptic. 

To be sure, eschatology does concern what things will look like at the end.  And, by the way, I must confess that I heartily prefer an eschatology characterized by transformative love and justice to an eschatology characterized by destructive violence.  It is sad that the "doom and gloom" version of apocalypse has come to dominate the theological scene.  But, as people like John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg remind us, there is an ancient strain of apocalypse that sees things ending not with fire and destruction and with all manner of people and things being "left behind," but that sees things consummating according to the love and justice and kindness and peace that have always lived in the hearts of human people. 

In any event, I am of the opinion that eschatology is of no use if it becomes just another way to engage in useless theological speculation about what tomorrow may look like.  Instead, I see the eschatological vision of peace among people and justice for all as a mandate for our present action.  It's part of what it means when we say that the Kingdom of God, to employ a term Jesus apparently used, is a present, concrete reality and not just a pie-in-the-sky hope.

So, if we subscribe to an eschatology that features love and justice and transformation and reconciliation, then we labor to make that a reality today. 

Where in the landscape of your life can you practice transformative love and justice today?  Whatever you can do, it will help nudge the world a bit closer to the hopeful vision we have always had about the day when God's will is done on earth as in heaven.

So, don't waste good eschatology on tomorrow!  Put it into practice in just and loving action today!

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