Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture

So, wow.

I just saw a "man on the street" interview that asked the question, "How would you spend your last hours on earth?" 

Three people were interviewed and their answers were: "drive across the country", "spend all my money", and "have fun".

Not pray, or worship, or spend time with loved ones. 

Now, maybe it's because they're young and invincible.  Maybe it's because they didn't take the question seriously - urgency tends to focus the mind, after all.  But it says something about them, and about us, as a culture. 

Martin Luther once said, "Even if I knew for certain the world would end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today." 

The way I see it, if you expect the end of the world - for you personally, or for the world in general - to be imminent, you have four options. 
  1. Get on with your vocation - whatever you've been called to in this life - work, marriage, parenthood, prayer, whatever.  Do what you're supposed to be doing. 
  2. Engage the "relationships."  Spend time with family and friends.  Cherish the opportunities to love and be loved that you've been given in this life. 
  3. Pray.  Like crazy.  Worship.  Join yourself to God, and let Him join Himself to you.  Take communion. Prepare your heart for the love that you will encounter in the next life. 
  4. Party on.  Spend money, get drunk, live life to the fullest.   
Maybe most people really would choose number 4.  The problem, of course, is that it's not really living life to the fullest.  We think it is.  We've convinced ourselves that libertinism is liberty, that license is freedom.  That what feels good right now, today, in this precise moment is the only thing worth doing.  Numbers 1-3 are "living life to the fullest."  Although we feel the tug of responsibility that comes with them, we also feel the lightness of joy, that "down in my heart" kind of joy that comes when you're doing what God's put you here to do. 

For the record, I don't believe in The Rapture.  It is an unBiblical 19th century innovation.  Up until the 1850s, literally no one even jokingly suggested that this "suck up the True Believers into the sky, leaving clothing; jewelry; confused, unbelieving neighbors; and dangerous unpiloted vehicles behind" in any way approximated how "the end of the world" is going to go down.  I don't know what it's going to look like, but I'm pretty sure it won't be this.  I think there will be trumpets, though.

The other thing about dear old Harold Camping, who I think is going to be stunningly disappointed today, is that I don't know how he gets around
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)
There are very few things in the Bible that are eminently clear, that are not subject to varying and equally valid interpretations and applications.  This strikes me as one of the few statements that can be taken entirely at face value.  We should probably do that, instead of spending all our time getting amped up about "when it's gonna be." 

But that's just me....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was a nice piece on the Rapture. Thanks for your writing. As a liberal ELCA Lutheran, it's always nice to find common ground with my conservative brothers and sisters. I pray that you have a delightful worship tomorrow.

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