Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. Mark 13.33
You might remember that scene in Rowan Atkinson's spoof spy film Johnny English when it is revealed that the bishop has "Look busy, Jesus is coming" tattooed on his buttocks. So how seriously should we take the numerous warnings of Christ's imminent return which pepper the New Testament? We have been waiting over 2.000 years; how soon is "soon"? And what are the moral implications of being ready to face our Saviour and Lord when he returns in glory?
In his earthly guise, even after his resurrection, Jesus was adamant that the timing of his return was open-ended; not because God is fickle but so as to give everyone a fair chance to get ready. So there's a clue: preparation must include a general awareness. After that it is surely what we do with the information. Those caught up in recent natural disasters know all about the agonising dilemma of a storm warning: tough it out/ grab pets and prized-possessions/ leave everything and flee for your life?
Most people would agree that the responsible thing is to preserve life and let everything else go. Is that how we live? If we truly believe in the biblical proclamation of Jesus' return in glory and judgment, then three things must follow: we shall spare no effort in sounding the alarm, we shall sit loosely to plans and possessions and we shall make sure that we are living true to our convictions - as disciples of Jesus who believe in his teaching and who trust what he says.