My mother and I recently visited family and friends for nearly two weeks in the Midwest, where we both noticed earlier sunrises and later sunsets and appreciated cooler temperatures than at least East Texas was experiencing at the time.
The astronomical season of summer officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere this coming Tuesday, after which daylight hours begin lessening, though temperatures usually continue rising until at least August, the end of which can be regarded as the end of the meteorological season of summer.
We may know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky but not know how to interpret the present time, the age of God’s Savior Jesus Christ, evident in the signs that He both has done and still does (Luke 12:54-56; confer Matthew 16:2-3 and 12:40).
Jesus’s coming began the “last days” (Hebrews 1:2 ESV), and faithful believers in every generation since Jesus’s coming probably have thought that theirs were the last of those “last days.”
The general signs of Jesus’s coming in glory to judge the living and the dead long have been fulfilled, and so He could come at any time and does not need for us to do anything at all before He would be able to return a final time.
And, the particular signs that His final coming is immediately imminent have yet to occur, so there remains time for those who have not yet repented to repent (2 Peter 3:9).
All people certainly need to repent, for, while we may think that things have gotten worse in our own lifetimes (and in some sense they truly have), already before the Flood “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” and “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 ESV).
When we repent and trust God to forgive our sins for the sake of His crucified and resurrected Son, then God forgives our sins through His Word and the modern signs of Holy Baptism, individual Holy Absolution and the Sacrament of the Altar.
We who repent and believe know how to interpret the present time, even if we do not know the exact day or hour of His return (Mark 13:32), and even if those around us so fall away from the faith that Jesus might ask rhetorically whether, when He comes the final time, He will find faith on earth (Luke 18:8).
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.