True confession time: I'm not exactly sure what I believe about "the day of the Lord."
I know that Paul is committed to the idea. For him, it is a given-- something that will happen in his lifetime, or certainly in the lifetime of most of his readers. It will happen fast and it may happen in stealth. A thief in the night may or may not be recognized by the sleepy occupants of the home, hence the need to stay awake and stay sober.
And I take Paul seriously. This is the earliest New Testament writing we have; it's the closest to the days when Jesus walked the earth, so it is filled with the energy of his early followers.
Still, I'm not sure what I believe about it. But I can tell you what I hope for. I can tell you what I long for.
I long for justice to roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Note: Not self-righteousness-- which is about being arrogant and sure of yourself. Righteousness--which is about people taking seriously what God wants them to do, and doing it, whether it benefits them directly or not.
I long for a world where we care for the last, the least, and the lost.
I long for a world in which all this happens, not because God makes us do it (or Jesus kills bad people with death-breath, as some "Christian" writers would have us believe), but because we are filled with love and joy and are overwhelmed by our need to do it. I want this to happen because people catch the love that I believe Jesus is really about, that is the fundamental attribute of our God.
The other day a friend put her head in her hands and said, "I just want Jesus to come back so much." That day I was feeling pretty optimistic about humanity for one reason or another, but some days, I'm right with her. On those days I just cannot believe humanity can pull itself out of the colossal mess we are presently in without divine intervention.
But I long to be wrong.
(For a taste of the joy I long for in this era of justice and righteousness, get a load of this... "Zion's Walls" by Aaron Copland, performed by ProMusica of Washington Adventist University.)