Apocalypse - Apuckerlips!! Get it? Pucker lips - kiss - love, anyway...
My point is this: Are we doomed to an apocalyptic nightmare where God's wrath is poured out on mankind, or is the kingdom of God going to be fulfilled in love on this earth?
We are all familiar with the devastation in the world - the poverty, injustice, hate, oppression, bigotry, racism, greed, war, conspiracies, you name it! Yes the world is really full of the worst of mankind. There are things happening that fill us with revulsion and horror. The governments are corrupt and the powerful forces behind them are mind boggling.
But lets have a closer look. One thing that we must be aware of is the complete change in media and communication in the last century. We are now privy to every little piece of news in every corner of the world. We can instantly see every atrocity and injustice committed as it happens. The internet floods us with millions of images and reports of how bad and evil mankind can be. The capability to search out every little detail of every news item, every political activity, military, conspiratorial, corruption, fraud... We see live footage of mass murderers, terrorist bombings. We are confronted with an endless barrage of evil and carnage, to say nothing of all the natural disasters.
We use all this information to conclude that these are the end times. But history may lead us to other conclusions. the world has been full of evil and darkness for thousands of years. There have always been corrupt leaders, dictators and fascists. In fact, very few of the leaders we know of throughout history could be called "good". Probably most were worse than our current leaders. Poverty and oppression was rampant. Injustice was the norm through so many cultures. The Dark and Middle ages were horrific. Even life in Victorian times was oppressive unless you were rich.
But here's an even more important thought. They didn't know what was going on in every small corner of the world. Nobody knew what was going on outside their own small world.
Its all relative. In reality, the world is a much better place than its ever been! We are all aware of what's going on. Democracy and justice is finding a firmer foothold through all the world. Slavery is is all but gone (yes it still exists). Discrimination of any kind is actively opposed in most countries. We are working together in so many ways that I find it incredible and inspiring. Technology, health, social welfare - all at a level that was unheard of even a century ago.
Yes, we have a long way to go. Yes there is a lot of "evil" working through this world, everything we see that is so disgusting about the world is true. But the thing is, we are constantly exposed to the negative every minute of the day and painted an image that negates all the good and all the amazing progress mankind has made.
So the next question is of course, what about the bible? It says we are all doomed and Jesus will come and take his elect and destroy everything else. Really? Have we actually done our homework on that? Yes, there's Revelation and the things Jesus said, and all the "experts" tell us in never ending (although conflicting) detail about how the world will end, but have we stopped to really consider and examine this stuff? Its way beyond the scope of this post to look at in detail, but research the idea of "preterist" beliefs and you may be surprised.
Anyway, lets suppose that the good news of the gospel is really way better than we could imagine. Lets suppose that as more and more people embrace the unconditional love of God and all that He has done for us, and how incredibly inclusive He is, and how much His heart aches for every single person ever created that He will establish His kingdom on this earth? His kingdom of love and inclusion. His kingdom of justice and equality - everything every human dreams of. What if that were actually beginning right now? What if his whole plan all along was not to wipe out all the evil nasty people, but to overwhelm and embrace them in His love, and bring that to our tired aching planet that has been groaning for the sons of God to be revealed?
Maybe we are those who will bring that kingdom. Maybe it will take generations as His love slowly but inexorably conquers all. Maybe we need to step back from the horror stories that bombard us every day and start to see the awesome things that God is doing and make some real comparisons about the state of the world.
Maybe we need to be love! Apuckerlips - not Apocalypse!