Several stories told by Jesus in scripture have to do with the coming of the end of this age. These are known as the "crisis parables", because they give warning and a call to repentance since the time is coming. In essence he is saying to us, as Joachim Jeremias puts it: "You are feasting and dancing--on the volcano which may erupt at any moment."
Most of us correctly read these parables with the lens which challenges us to live our lives for Christ in a much stronger fashion. If you grew up in the church of the 90's, your brain hears echoes of "wish we'd all been ready" right now as you read this. We are challenged to live our lives for Christ with stronger character and discipline. We want to be ready after all.
Today I have a new lens through which I am seeing these stories of Jesus. Brennan Manning writes, "When a tornado comes tearing down the street, it is not time to stop and smell the flowers." We have to let go of the old days that never were.
While we certainly look at the reality of Jesus' return with added vigor, because we simply do not know how much time we have left, there is something else we simply have no time for, being anchored in our past. I am afraid too many of us on that day will so desire to ascend to glory with our Lord but will find an enormous anchor tethered to our ankles.
In the unknown amount of time we have left there is simply not enough for us to spend stuck in our past regrets and guilt. We cannot await the glorious tornado while holding on to the missed quiet times or the virtues and values we did not practice, or the failed prayer times, or the mistakes we made along the way.
I have always said our past is a point of reference, but it is not a point of residence.
The old is gone, and our Lord is coming back for us. There is not time to be anchored by our past.