On Saturday, January 5th, we were driving home from a week of 81 degrees on New Smyrna Beach in Florida. We were high in the West Virginia mountains when the snow began to fall and we needed to stop for gas and other necessities. I was standing at the gas pump with my Browns jacket on when a F350 Ford pick-up (big) pulled up behind me pulling a trailer.

A crew cut man slowly lowered himself down from the pick-up to fill up his tank. He looked like he’d been on the church diet even longer than I’ve been.

When he saw my jacket, he smiled and shouted out, “You guys finally found a quarterback! I’m from Pittsburgh. Our wide receiver betrayed us this year.”

I shouted back, “But you still would have made the playoffs if we would have beaten the Ravens.”

He shouted back, “If you would have beaten the Ravens and if Jesus would have come back.” We laughed together.

When I got back in our minivan, Danette still not used to me having conversations with strangers after 36 years of marriage, asked me what we were yelling about. I responded, “We were talking about when Jesus is going to come back.” My son Micah and his girlfriend Jasmine, sitting in the middle seats, yet again shook their heads after spending the week observing how long married couples communicate or not. Their hearing is more than good enough to have heard the actual conversation.

When is Jesus coming back? Some believe Baker Mayfield is the Messiah who will lead us to the promised land just as Lebron did. For those of us who worship the Jesus of the new testament, the Jesus who was crucified and resurrected, we heed Jesus’ words that we will not know the day nor the hour and he will return when we least expect him.

In the meantime, we journey through the Epiphany season of February, welcoming Christ’s lighting even the darkest corners of our lives and souls. Ash Wednesday doesn’t come until March 6th this year when we transition into the Lenten season.

When is Jesus coming back? We can welcome his presence everyday through another person, through worship, through prayer, through the bread and wine, through reading His Word, and through the trials, temptations, celebrations, and joys of our everyday life together.

May God bless you on your journey – Pastor Doug