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Does Maranatha Deliver Promise, Penalty, or Pizza?

The word means “our Lord, come” in Aramaic, the language that Jesus and His Twelve spoke with their telling Galilean accent.  It appears only in 1 Cor. 16:22, where Paul warned, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha.”  John ended the paramount message to frightened Christians this way, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’  Amen.  ‘Come, Lord Jesus’” (Rev. 22:20).  Both writers added, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.  Amen.”

Maranatha Pizzerias do exist in several states and abroad.  One in Buenos Aires has top reviews.  Is the Christian owner eager to witness, one wonders, or does the customer expect quick delivery?  With our world in shambles from the ravages of an unprecedented pandemic, the universal cry for relief is pressing.  While politicians and scientists scramble to address it, conflicted Christians may be praying Christ’s promise of His quick return.  There is just one fly in that ointment – the pressing concern for our unsaved loved!

After Pilate’s murder of the Galileans, and the tragedy of the falling tower of Siloam, Jesus’ charge to repent or perish hardly made for “ear candy.”  However, He quickly followed up with the parable of an owner’s curt order to cut down a fig tree that had not produced fruit in three years.  The worker holding the axe talked him out of it with this pitch: “Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer, and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9).

That donkey dung surely stank and the sharp blows to the ground felt hateful.  I used bland granules to achieve lush-looking perennials in my patio planters.  When they finally looked spent beyond redemption, I stopped tending them.  Persistent rains kept me from trashing them quickly.  When warm spring breezes had me step outside armed with my “axe,” I was flabbergasted to notice splashes of color on the doomed Lantanas.  Greenery sprouted from the tangle of dead-looking sticks, and a few small flowers had daringly formed.  Guess who ran for the Miracle-Gro and showered God with praise for His resurrection power manifest even in nature?

Could this lead to an "Amen" pitch for concerned loved ones to dig in their heels of intercessory prayer and fertilize it with grace-saturated Scriptures?  “And when you were dead in your transgressions…He made you alive together with Him...having canceled out the certificate of debt…nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13-14).  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

Vreni Schiess


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