Summary: Did you see the Hollywood film of the same name? What lessons does it have for us this Advent?
There was a film out a few months back entitled “seeking a friend for the end of the world”. Now if like me you enjoy the cinema, you often get to watch apocalyptic motion pictures where an asteroid is about to crash into the earth or the volcanoes are going off, or the gulf stream shifts and the world is about to freeze. And then the heroes deflect the asteroid or build an ark to survive the tsunamis or rescue those trapped in a frozen New York.
“Seeking a friend for the end of the world” is a bit different. It begins with a news reel - the final attempt to stop the asteroid has failed. In 21 days time the world ends. This is not like disaster movies where somehow people get rescued. This film explores how people react when faced with the inevitability of their own death and everyone else’s. How would you react?
1 Thessalonians 3:13 “and may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blamless before our God and father at the coming of Our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
Today is Advent Sunday. If you ask most people in England what Advent means they’ll say it’s when you get Advent calendars. You open the little doors and there is chocolate. If you dig a bit deeper they might tell you it is counting down to Christmas. And that is true. But Advent means more than that.
Advent is from the latin word for “coming” - it is when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. We prepare for the coming of the of the baby Jesus at Bethlehem. And we also prepare for his second coming: for the “coming of Our Lord Jesus with all his saints” at the end of the world. Are you ready for the end of the world. If it happens before the end of this sermon - are you ready? In fact does anyone need to dash off and sort anything out?
In “Seeking a friend for the end of the world” you keep getting captions saying “21 days to go”, “13 days to go”, “12 days to go” etc. A bit like opening your advent calendar doors to count down to Christmas. Except in Advent we are also opening doors to count down to the end of the world. There’s one wonderful scene in the film where a man says “I go to the doctor and they tell me I have got cancer and I only have 6 months to live. Then I get home, turn on the TV, and the news says an asteroid is going to hit us and I only have 21 days to live”. We don’t know how long we’ve got. I don’t know if I am going to die in 3 months time or if the world is going to end in 2 months time. Advent tells us to be prepared. Advent tells us to be like the man in the film with a sandwich bord saying “the end of the world is here” - the hero looks at him and says “well he’s finally vindicated!” “May he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and father at the coming of Our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
Our reading from 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 tells us 3 things Paul wants us to do to “Be prepared!” (make scout sign).