A few years ago, I stumbled across a website called raptureready.com. The site is like the Dow Jones Industrial Average for end of time activity, according to its author. The index is a kind of prophetic speedometer—the higher the number the faster the author believes we are moving towards the end times,” begins Rev. Courtney Allen Crump, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Today’s lectionary text, Mark 13:24-37, would no doubt have been given a high mark on the rapture.com index. Crump says, “On this first Sunday of Advent, we do not begin with a baby in the manger and the first coming of the Messiah, but with a cosmic focus and images of the second coming of Jesus.” Crump reminds us that the narrative in Mark is apocalyptic. The intent is not to prepare us for the rapture, but “to bring hope to desperate people and to focus expectations on the revelation of God in the here and now.” That’s a message that will preach today!
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