You don’t see those people so often with the sandwich boards that used to march round the city centre with the large printed message on their boards saying: THE END IS NIGH. They used to stand, fixed in one place, or weave round the crowds, often not saying anything, allowing you to read their message and either be chilled to the bone or to simply ignore their warning.
If you cared to stop them, they would be probably explain that it is because of the wickedness of the times that the end is surely coming. Of course down through the ages all sorts of people have prophesied the end to be nigh, prophets of doom, who always see the worst in everything. All sorts of people like to say that there has never been a time like this for wickedness and that God would finish us all off..
That message of the end being nigh is being spoken yet again, but not by the men who walk through our city centres with their boards. The message this time comes from climate scientists. Time might be up for the planet if we don’t start changing our ways and doing the right thing. We can’t continue to pour sludge into our rivers and seas. We can’t let gasses escape in the atmosphere. We can continue to consume things without their being a cost to be paid. We can’t continue to throw things away without it destroying the fine balance of things. We are on the cusp of destroying things – waters could rise engulfing cities, temperatures could rise melting the ice cap. Temperatures could rise to destroy harvest, bring hunger, cause strife.
That message the END IS NIGH, suddenly seems quite relevant, suddenly seems worth sitting up and taking note. Suddenly that message which people smiled at and walked on doesn’t seem just so easy to ignore.
If we don’t do something now, it will be too late. If we don’t wake up, events will overtake us. If we don’t act then that time will be upon us. THE END IS NIGH.
We realise that it needs everyone to unite, to change and to what is necessary for ourselves and generations to come.
Surely the prophets of doom won’t be right. Surely people will do the right thing, surely people will change their ways. The dangers are very real. There will come a time when we won’t be able to reverse the changes. It is important to act now.
Jesus also uses this same language in the Gospel. If you are interested in saving the situation, interested in saving yourself, act now before it is too late. The master has returned from the wedding and he is knocking at the door. The master has arrived at table and he expects to be served now. The thief has arrived, you must be ready.
The hour is now, the moment has arrived, the time has come, you must be ready, alert, you must act now.
This message is not a good one to hear if you are good at putting things off. Leaving things off until tomorrow. Leaving things till the last moment.
What we are hearing is the call to act now, at this moment, before it is too late.
There are some things in life that can’t be put off till tomorrow. There are somethings that will simply not wait. If we wait to do it, we are in danger of it being too late, we will miss the boat.