How would you describe the times in which we are living? What word or words would you use to help someone understand the nature of our age? What metaphors can you imagine to accurately project the proper expression of our place in history?

          The apostle Paul gives us a graphic, yet troubling, image of our times in 1 Corinthians 10:11. In describing the rebellion of Israel, and admonishing his readers to not fall into the same pattern of rebellion and disobedience, he tells us that those things were written for our instruction. He then says that we are people “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” We need to think about that some.

          The statement is fascinating if for no other reason than it is so obscure. Notice the plurals: the ends of the ages [they] have come. In addition, the idea that they have come may not fully express the intended meaning. Richard B. Hays makes a compelling argument that Paul’s understanding of the nature of this epoch in history would be better described with, “The ends of the ages have met and are now overlapping one another.” In other words, we are now living within the intersection of two violently competing ages.

          This evil age-along with the powers and principalities driving it-is responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The age to come is that perfect age in which God will be all in all. The intersection of those two ages can only be described as a storm front. The implication for the church of Christ is that we have not been hidden away in some safe haven to live out our existence far removed from harm’s way. On the contrary, it means that we have been gathered by God to live under the constant threat of a deadly thunderstorm-a storm that has been generated by the meeting of the ends of the ages. 

          As the church of Christ at the turn of the century, we must always remember that we live and worship our God in exceedingly dangerous times. Apathy, lethargy, and contentment with the status quo may turn out to be our greatest enemies. It helps to remember Paul’s description of our times: the ends of the ages have collided. The result is nothing short of a deadly storm front. And it is within the uncertainty and looming danger of that storm front that we must faithfully worship our God.

Advertisements