November is the time of year that Christians focus on the End Times. One thing that is clear from the Bible about the End Times is that it will involve the end of the world as we know it: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 51:6, ESV)

Today, even those who don’t believe in Scripture are talking about the end of the world in connection with changes in the earth’s climate. When someone dies, an obituary is written about them so I decided to write an obituary of the world. Here is my version of the world’s obituary:

The world came to an end in a tremendous inferno on Sunday, November 24, 2019 (the Last Sunday of the Church Year in the liturgical calendar). The exact date when the world came into existence is uncertain since no one was there to witness it.

The world was kept warm and energized by a medium-sized star known as the sun. The world took 365 days to orbit the sun and rotated on its own axis once every 24 hours. The world had one moon, which bathed the nighttime hours with its soft glow. Billions of stars illuminated the earth’s sky at night.

The world was especially known for her beauty. Her oceans, seas, rivers, mountains ranges, jungles and many other natural wonders inspired awe and wonder. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets were regular occurrences. The world could also be a dangerous place. Volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, lightning strikes and other natural disasters caused tremendous destruction, often without warning.

The world was teeming with life. She was home to millions of different species of animals, birds, insects and fish. She was also home to over seven and a half billion humans who dominated all other forms of life on earth.

Humans could be known for outstanding acts of bravery, skill and compassion and could also be known for detestable acts of savagery, violence and depravity. Humans built magnificent machines, computers and buildings and even escaped the world’s gravitational pull to travel in outer space. But humans also fought unending wars, suffered countless man-made disasters and were never able to live in complete harmony.

Humans often wondered about the meaning and purpose of life. Two competing world views developed among humans. Some humans believed that the world and everything in it simply evolved over billions and billions of years and that the end of the world was just part of a natural cycle of birth and rebirth. They speculated that the earth was just one of several earths scattered around the universe and they spent much time and effort searching for other life forms in the universe.

Other humans believed that the world was a completely unique creation of an almighty, all-knowing God. This God not only created the world he loved it and took care of it constantly. When humans became separated from him because of their sin, God sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to save them by dying for them on the cross. These people were known as Christians. They took their beliefs from the Bible, a book containing what they believed were the very words of God.

Unfortunately, the two sides never did come to an agreement. Christians did not reach agreement with the many other religions that developed in the world either.

If you are reading this obituary it means you survived the world’s destruction and are standing in the presence of God in great glory. This was made possible only by God’s grace as noted in the writings of a follower of Jesus named Jude:

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25, ESV)

Now what about your obituary? Unless the world ends before you die, you are going to need one. What will it say? How do you want to be remembered? Your family, as well as many others, will read your obituary. If faith in Christ is your dearest treasure, if you believe that it is the only thing that will save you when the world comes to an end, wouldn’t it be a good idea to include a faith statement in your obituary?

What a beautiful world we live in! As the church year comes to an end this month we are reminded that the world also is coming to an end and that only God’s salvation in Jesus Christ will last forever.

Kirk Griebel is a Lutheran pastor from Owatonna. His blog is mirrorneurons.blog and his email is kirk.griebel@gmail.com.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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