There is a biblical adage that “the end of a thing is better than the beginning”. It is in Proverbs somewhere and I am not sure what it is all about but there don’t seem to be any good endings anymore. People were so upset with ending of Game of Thrones that they sued to have different ending written and preformed. People get mad at the ending of football games and other sporting events. Politicians get upset with the end of political campaigns and we might be getting to the point that if certain people lose we have to have recounts because they were supposed to win. There is a strange feeling out there that the old Burger King tag line, “have it your way” should be engraved into the fabric of everyone’s life. The clash of course, is that by definition, not everyone can have it their way. Competition means, by definition, that there are forces striving for something that cannot be shared. Most people don’t like sharing much either. Competitions where everyone wins are usually languid affairs that only those involved can really enjoy. The complaints about endings is endemic I guess but the last month or so in the church year is all about the end of all things.
There seemed to be no good endings in the story that we call the Gospel. Crucified, dead, and buried is not a good ending for Jesus in human terms. Rising from the dead, ascending to the right hand of God, coming to judge the living and the dead, may be a good ending for Jesus but not for the fallen mass of human being destined for outer darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Yet the coming of Jesus as judge is the wrap up and dénouement of a plan that began before the world was made. A plan to take all the bad endings and wrap them into an act of salvation which is uniquely God’s doing. Think of that one simple statement from Psalm 8 – “Salvation belongs to the Lord”. If salvation belongs to God it does not belong to you and your pitiful attempts to make yourself into something you are not. Only God can save.
The desire to change endings is a small piece of evidence of our fallen nature. To “save” something to match our desire is a puny and silly thing that betrays a monstrous abuse of power. Power that belongs to God alone”.. We want to “have it our way”, and it may take the better part of our lives to understand that God will have His way. He wills our salvation, and wills us to have a good end and a new beginning in life everlasting.
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