December 1 - What is the Christian hope*?

It's going to be AWESOME! Jesus comes riding down from heaven on a fire-breathing steed, armed to the teeth, surrounded by legions of resurrected Christian warriors. He totally destroys all evil forces and anyone who hasn't been "saved" is sent to Hell.

Thus begins Jesus' reign of perfect harmony and peace in a new Earthly paradise?

No. It won't happen that way.

It may sell a lot of books, but that version of things misses the point spectacularly. It hurts the church and makes us look like fools.

We expect—and we get—much more than a conquering hero who sets up a highly-selective paradise. Jesus will come in true power, not our silly human image of power. Jesus infuses us, he doesn't rule us. Even a cursory look makes it clear: God does not return violence. God forgives.

Jesus has already returned and is working in this world, here and now. When our alms ministers treat someone with respect and love, Jesus is at work in our world. When you give to the poor, Jesus is at work. Consider yourself resurrected, here and now.

*This question is from the Book of Common Prayer, from the FAQ section on page 845. Answer is: "The Christian hope is to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God's purpose for the world."

Start now, please.