Not the sort of shaking Jerry Lee Lewis meant, but there really is a lot of shaking going on in the world at the moment. Economic shaking; political shaking; literal earth-shaking.
It’s common for Christians to talk about living in the last days and to interpret world events as being harbingers of the second coming of Jesus. I’m not sure how much we are allowed to do that, bearing in mind that the Bible is specifically unclear about times, and that these things are not new – is it just that this is the first generation which has been so able to be aware of events on a global scale?
Nevertheless, it seems at the moment that the conjunction of economic collapse, revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East and natural disasters is remarkable. Will future historians look at this time and see it as a hinge point in world civilisation? Or does this in fact actually herald the end of this phase of history and the coming of the King?
It’s my suspicion that Christians are always meant to live with the expectation of the return of the Saviour in our own life time. Certainly Paul and the first century believers had that expectation. So did Pentecostals in the early and mid-20th century, and even in the 80s when I first came into this tradition. I think in recent years there has been less focus on the return of Christ. But I find in my own heart a rising anticipation: maybe we are indeed the last generation?
On the other hand, maybe Gadaffi will retain the upper hand in Libya and repressive regimes will continue to flourish in the Middle East. Maybe the affairs of world politics will continue to be dominated by the economic interests of the powerful. Maybe the world is not yet ready to melt down its weapons to make agricultural instruments. If so, it’s still the responsibility of the people of God to preach a gospel of love for all people; of power which resides not in human might but in faithful following of a crucified saviour; of the ultimate judgement of God on rulers who seek only their own prosperity; and of the weakness and foolishness of a God who will eventually be proved in the eyes of all to be ultimate strength and wisdom.
We preach Christ crucified