Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
That’s a loaded question. You might hear it like “ready to meet your maker” or a similar metaphor for the next life. Certainly, we’d like to feel we’re ready for meeting Jesus there. When our time comes. Whenever that is.
You might hear it as an allusion to the second coming. Jesus said he’d be back. Maybe not like the Terminator’s iconic “I’ll be back,” but it might raise a similar level of anxiety to hear that we should be ready for Jesus to return at “an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). Whenever that is.
Both situations - the end of this life or the second coming - could be anxiety inducing since the question certainly makes it feel like either is imminent rather than eventual. The people who first heard Jesus talk about a “second coming” certainly thought it was soon. As time went on, it seemed like it could be anytime in the future, but, even with more time, there’s still no indication of when or how or where. What if I’m not ready? What does it even mean, to be ready? Ready for what, exactly?
Hang on a minute, though, and take a step back. What if Jesus didn’t mean either of those things? Remember, this is the one who was teaching us how to live the love, grace and goodness that’s in all living things, the one who tried to inspire us to see that we, too, are both of the earth and the divine spirit, the one who constantly tried to describe what he was about rather than specifically who he was. What if he meant all of that rather than just simply “me, this figure, Jesus?”
What if Jesus meant we should be ready to see all those things he is to us in the world around us, in the people we encounter? What if Jesus really meant that we need to be prepared to see love in our neighbour as well as be love to our neighbour. And everyone’s my neighbour, right? The easy to love and the hard to love, people just like us and people so different it might be a little scary. Wouldn’t that be meeting Jesus? How do you prepare for that?
When Jesus says things like keep your lamps lit or be dressed and ready for action or be ready to open the door for the master of the house when they come home (Luke 12:35-38), I think he’s just trying to say keep busy with living like I showed you: be a light for others, be ready to love and care and show grace to others and, most important of all, be open to the promise that all that Jesus is, is alive in you and the world around you. Keep an open heart and mind, give that possibility a chance, hope to meet it, encourage it and inspire it.
We are constantly meeting all that Jesus is. See it, make that connection and build relationships on it. Live it and make it an everyday occurrence, not a once in lifetime experience.
Now, go back to those two anxiety inducing moments where we started. Live well, you’ll be ready.