Up at 6:30 or 7:00, make the coffee, put the dog out, pour the coffee, on the way to the living room to read, remember to let the dog in, settle in to my chair, read the daily papers, review the night’s emails for family, my self and both churches, preview the day’s to-do list, shower and dress, morning errands, travel to church, morning prayers, stop by the office, then off to a rehab home visit, a lunch meeting in Memphis, including an inconvenient phone call on the trip there, back to office, more email, a task or two, set up an evening appointment, finish reading commentaries for Sunday’s lectionary, the evening meeting and home. All in all it is an ordinary day, full of ordinary events in the life of a priest.
Arland Hultgren’s commentary on this week’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel put’s an emphasis on the ordinary. [i] “… eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” are normal; that’s what people do; working in the fields and at the grist mill, that’s what people do. He notes there is no moral judgment between who is taken and not; though there clearly is divine distinction. The story about the thief in the night is Jesus prompting the disciples to be ready, all the time, in the midst of everyday normal activities. Jesus will come when you do not expect it, when you are not ready; so always be ready.
I’m generally not a fan of rapture stuff; however in writing I recalled a bumper sticker that reads In case the Rapture this car will be vacant. We can argue the theology expressed another time; however, it does express a degree of preparedness that Jesus is teaching. His teaching also reminds me of the Boy Scout Motto Be Prepared.
My day was ordinary. There is nothing that intrinsically is being prepared for the end of days. That, I think, is a matter of heart, a matter of fundamental motivation of life. I.E. Why we do what we do? I make coffee at 6 am in routine stupor. (I am not a morning person.) The discernment for tomorrow is: of what I did today, what was done in Jesus name, i.e. motivated by God’s love for me or my love for the other beloved of God? and what was motivated by anything else?
[i] Arland Hultgren, Working Preacher, workingpreacher.com, commentary on Matthew 24:36-44