Pastor corner: Like a Bush Taxi

Dakota Prairie Lutheran Parish
I knew an African pastor once named Beka David who served a Lutheran parish in Poli, northern Cameroon. I will never forget a sermon he preached in our congregation about the return of Christ.
By PASTOR Mark Nygard
It’s like waiting for a bush taxi, he said—the crumpled, dusty, half-bus that plies the roads of Africa looking for paying passengers. A bush taxi has no published timetable. It leaves a town whenever market day is over and everybody who wants to go has gotten onboard. It doesn’t stop until someone wants to get off or until it comes upon someone along the road who wants to get on. And you never know when that will be.
That means that if you want to go somewhere and you wait along the road in the hot sun for a bush taxi, you better stay by the road. Get tired of waiting and make one quick trip back to your house for a drink and a rest, and the taxi might roar by in its cloud of red dust, never even knowing that you were there. You might end up waiting for hours, but if you stuck with it and didn’t lose heart, it would eventually show up and you’d get your ride.
This is the time of the year when many churches are reading Bible lessons about the return of the Lord, and the lessons make it clear: Jesus has no published timetable. Again, and again, Matthew records, “Of that day and hour no one knows” (24:36a), or, “The Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (24:44b), or, “Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (24:42), It almost sounds like even Jesus himself doesn’t know when it will be (24:36b)!
We’re now living 20 centuries later, and the event has taken rather longer than Christians at the time expected. In fact, the delay has been long enough that there are those who begin to doubt that he ever will ever come back. Like the weary traveler along the road in the hot sun, we are inclined to give up and head back to the house for a drink and a rest, as it were—to tend to other affairs than the Lord’s, to live our lives exactly as if the Lord were gone forever.
An African pastor named Beka urges us to hang in there. The Lord is coming. Much more surely than that bush taxi, the scriptures say we’ll see the Lord Jesus one day. May he find us ready, with hearts turned to him, with eyes searching for him, with deeds demonstrating faith in him. On that day with happy hearts we’ll enter into his care. And he will see us safely home.

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