Last night here in the Greater Toronto area, we sat glued to the Intellicast weather satellite web page, watching as a long skinny band of severe thunderstorms tracked its way from Terra Haute, Indiana, through Detroit, toward Toronto and up to Ottawa. One Ontario town, Goderich, had seen its downtown area devastated by a tornado just the day before and was back on the tornado watch 24 hours later.
Tornadoes are rare in the area east of Toronto, but then so are earthquakes in Washington, DC. It’s been that kind of week. And sooner or later, someone steps forth to suggest all the strange weather is an indication that we are indeed “living in the end times.” How do you respond?
First of all, I think weather is a rather weak “sign” of the impending ending to the “age of grace” when compared with, for example, moral decay. When people say, “Look at the way the world is…;” they generally are referring to its spiritual state, not its meteorological state. Furthermore, it’s the aggregate of many signs that point to “final wrap up” here.
So a good response might be, “Well yes, we knew that.”
Secondly, I think that we have imperative ever before us to live in an “end times” mindset. The early disciples expected Christ to return in a matter of weeks or months. Our expectation should be greater. But we also don’t know what the next day might bring; it may not be the “last days” for everyone, but it could be the “very last day” for us. We need to think in terms of leaving a legacy, of passing our faith values on to the next generation and doing some “kingdom building” that will impact our neighbors, co-workers, extended family, etc.
So a good response might be, “Are you fully prepared, no matter what happens?”
Finally, I think we have a responsibility to close the windows so the rain doesn’t get in. In other words, we need to do the practical things we can do here and now. To not be so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good. To not be spiritualizing the moment when we should be rounding up the patio furniture so it doesn’t blow away.
So a good response to your neighbor might be, “Do you want to join us in the basement to ride out the storm?”