April 17, 2008
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42
Before last week's CNN story was carried on the news, I had never heard of the True Russian Orthodox Church.
A small group of thirty-five people, the church made the headlines because they, following the advice of their leader Father Kuznetsov, have been living in a cave. They have been living in a cave since last November.
Their reason for taking up a rocky residence was simple: Father Kuznetsov had told them they had better get prepared because the end of the world is going to come sometime during the month of May. Somehow the members of the church concluded waiting in a cave was more spiritual than getting ready in their homes.
At any rate, the members of the True Russian Orthodox Church did get ready.
They brought enough supplies into their cave to keep them comfortable until the end of May. Anticipating difficulties, they even brought in canisters of gasoline to burn themselves to death if any state officials tried to forcibly remove them from their den of preparation.
Now, after some serious negotiations, accompanied by personal pleas from Father Kuznetsov, it appears their mass suicide might be averted. As of this writing, a total of twenty-one believers have left the cave. It is expected the rest will soon follow.
I hope so.
When Jesus warned His followers to "stay awake" for the unknown hour of His return to this world, He wasn't encouraging believers to cut themselves off from the world and take up residence in a rock.
Jesus wanted those who had seen His suffering and sacrifice and who had been brought to faith in His resurrection victory, to live everyday of their lives as believers. He wants all of us to live as Christians right where we are, doing what we do.
If we believe that, no matter when Jesus returns, He will find His people prepared. He will come upon us as living, loving witnesses who have spent their days pointing others to God's great grace as found in His cross and open tomb.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit so I might be prepared for Your return. May I live every day of my life pointing to You whose sacrifice has removed the sting of death and brought peace to my todays. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries