I thought we'd dealt with the whole 2012 thing in 2010, and then all of a sudden it's a huge topic again.
Every week I get asked this question by teenagers at the school I teach RE at.
"Sir, is the world going to end in 2012"?
"Why do you think it is"? Is usually my reply.
A year ago the answer was "because I saw that movie". But now it's more along the lines of "...because of all the disasters that are happening line up with the movie".
I had to remind the kids that way, way before they were born people were saying that the world was going to end.
When Napoleon threatened to take over the world. When WW1 was in full flight. When the Pandemic following WW1 killed 20 million people. When WW2 began and Hitler was labelled the Antichrist. During the cold war. When the Vietnam war escalated. In the wars in the middle east between Israel and her neighbours. During the Reagan years of nuclear rhetoric. In the gulf wars. And on St Patricks Day when I realised that they stopped selling Guinness in the 750ml version longneck and were charging $4.75 for a 440ml version that was nothing like the real deal. :)
In Matthew 24 Jesus is recorded as saying (Verses 7-8 When asked "when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age")
"...For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows...".
So I expect those things to happen and for God to allow them to happen, to answer Martin Bashir's questioning of Rob Bell recently on whether God didn't care or was powerless to stop these things. These things happen, they are the beginning of sorrows and they were happening 2,000 years ago as well as today.
Kids are really, really anxious about this stuff, but to be fair, my generation were terrified of nuclear war, especially when movies like "The day after" portraying the results of a Soviet v USA conflict showed us that we were all going to be vaporised by atomic bombs. There has always been fear of death.
And there, dear readers, is the devil himself. That is the supernatural aspect to the story.
Because fear of death ultimately makes us slaves to the devil - by driving our desires and influencing our actions. The best book you will ever read on this subject is "Living with the underworld - by Peter Bolt" and you can buy it via Amazon or Matthias Media in Australia. It shows that the fear of death has made us slaves in life to the 'prince of this world' whilst Christ's message, life and death free's us from that and changes the way we live and die.
Think about that in your own life. What drives you. Is it the fear of death? Is that why you take those supplements? Stress about your life insurance? Travel to all those countries before you die? Tick off the bucket list? Stress that every strange pain is cancer or heart disease? Visit Clairvoyants? Need to know what happens after we die?
A lot of the supernatural experiences people have are real - no doubt. But often the source of them plays further on our fascination or fears about death. And in my experience that can be a trap to lure you in.
How much time do you spend thinking about the dead when you are amongst the living? How much time do you spend watching tv shows about the dead, traipsing around looking for ghosts, reading blogs, writing blogs, analysing data, doing research - when Christ called us to life and life abundantly.
I don't care if the world ends in 2012 and frankly it's none of my business. My business is to love God and love my neighbour, both of whom are alive and well and around me daily.
The supernatural realm is interesting, but it's a cheap parlour trick or a sideshow ride compared to living life abundantly. It's exciting for a minute but you need to keep going on better rides or more interesting shows to keep the thrill alive. It enters our world, co-exists with our world and tries to influence our world for good and bad.
But Jesus never said "pursue the supernatural realm". He said "Abide in me". Here is the supernatural love of God given freely to us, rather than the mystery of what could be lurking in the old graveyard down the road. If you want a real supernatural experience, abide in Christ and let Him abide in you. Recieve life here and life everafter.
All the other stuff will continue to remain largely a mystery, despite the digital and thermal recorders, EVP playbacks and new technology. Keel said "It seems to meet us wherever we are at in history" (paraphrased), which is the parlour trick that suckers us in. It is interesting, yet ultimately non-essential to life on earth and hereafter.
Live. Love. Laugh. Get out in the sun every now and then and don't stress about cancer, you've become too pale and vitamin D deficient from all that web research and ghost hunting :). Stop reading your horoscope and dreading the day ahead. And don't worry about when the world ends because...
Matthew 24: 36 "...But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.."
And the angels can't figure it out, you've got no chance.
God bless you - Pastor