Are we listening?

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1 December 2017

Today Jesus is telling us to notice the signs of the times so that we can discern between what is of real value and what is passing.

But how do we do this?

One option is through a political lens; indeed much of history has been written that way. We can look at what the great Presidents, Kings, Prime Ministers have done and why.

Or we can read it sociologically. What are the significant trends going on in society? What’s unfolding in popular and high culture, what are the shifts and demographics and why are they happening?

Or we could read the sign of the times through an economic lens. Karl Marx said in the 19th century “deep down; things are always about the economy.” Everything else, Marx’s said, “is an expression of the economic substructure.”

Or we can read the word culturally through the lens of fine arts, language, film and books.

All of those are valid frameworks for understanding the world. In essence, whatever we read be it from the New York Times to the Women’s Weekly– we are attempting to read through a particular lens to understand the world.

But the Bible insists that the world should be read theologically.

The biblical Jews believed that God was operating in and through and under all these dimensions. God acts in and through all the ordinary events and dynamics of the world.

Ancient Israel was sent messenger after messenger to bring it back into line. To read the sign of the times was to be attentive to these people, these spokespersons for God. The same is true of us.

As we read the signs of the times, let us ask this question – who is God raising up right now? How many affairs of the world, politically, economically, culturally are affecting the Church right now? What do you see, as you look at the world through these very particular theological lenses?

We are meant to be the people that give right praise to God, the people who obey God and thereby become a beacon to the nations. How the followers of Jesus behave makes a difference not only to them but to those they are meant to be inspiring.

Who are the people that are being sent to us right now to draw us back? Who are the messengers right now? Are we listening to them.? Ah, that’s the way to read the sign of the times.

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