“I’ll be back!” That is a phrase associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger, from the movie, The Terminator. Jesus said it first when he said, “I am coming soon.”

The return of Christ has influenced many literary wonders. One of them was called The Second Coming by Mark Russell, a comic book writer.

The story has Jesus returning to Earth and moving in with a superhero character, Sunstar. His dad, God, wants to toughen Jesus up, since the last Earth appearance didn’t go so great.

Was the Messiah a disappointment? He was not the warrior on a mighty horse that the Jews had hoped for. But, he IS the one who announced the reign of justice, who ignored the social order by having banquets with tax collectors and prostitutes.

He took notice of those who had been marginalized and rejected, such as the lepers.

In his return, is Christ going to come incognito and man-up like a super hero? Or is Jesus coming on a cloud for all to see? When is this happening?

Every generation since the resurrection has seen armchair theologians offering dates for Jesus’ return.

William Miller expected Christ to come in 1842. In 1844, the Millerites recalculated and announced the new date of Oct. 22. They set out to warn the world.

Most of the Millerites gave up their occupations during the last days. Farmers left their crops in the fields, as they awaited the coming of Christ. Oct. 22 came and no sight of the Christ.

Several years later, Christ did not come to Miller, but Miller went to Christ. His tombstone reads, “At the time appointed, the end shall be.“

In 1925, an amphitheater was built overlooking Sydney Harbour, Australia, for the second coming of Christ. It was believed that Christ would soon return and walk across the Pacific Ocean to the amphitheater. When he did not arrive by 1929, the group dissolved.

In the early 1970s, Hal Lindsay published The Late Great Planet Earth, which put together an assortment of 20th century events that were loosely matched to scripture, in order to determine a date for Christ’s return.

The author updated his prediction every five years...for three decades.

What date we hear from the Bible is “soon.” “The time is near.” Mark 1:15, Jesus says “Time is up. God’s kingdom is near. Repent and believe.” (The Message)

So what are we to do while we are waiting for Christ to appear?

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they ...may enter the [Heavenly] city by the gates.“ (Rev 22:14)

We are to do some laundry. It’s not glamorous and it’s not exciting. We may need to be about the work of cleansing our world.

It is a reminder that being a Christian is a role of love and service within the community. Perhaps this “washing clean” is another way of saying “Clean up our own prejudices and assumptions.”

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