It’s late-morning on Saturday the 21st. Jesus will be coming back to get us in a few hours and some (more) massive earthquakes will be set off (sorry to steal the limelight, Japan). Or was that rapture bit supposed to happen at 6pm New Zealand time, since that’s the beginning of the day according to the International Date Line? I never quite got the story straight.
In actuality, this whole rapture end-of-the-world business has been unsettling to me. Something is just wrong with the whole situation, and I’m not talking about the obvious. Sure, I’ve poked my fun, laughed at the jokes, but I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. It isn’t just the situation either, there’s something wrong with us.
Last night, I told a friend that I had thought about throwing an End of the World party, or at least a See-Ya-Later-All-Us-Christians-Are-OUT party, but that as amusing as it would be, it just seems a little, well, blasphemous. I’m a Christian, I believe Jesus. I suck at following his example, but I still believe in it. Which means I also believe that there’s more to life than this mortal coil. I don’t know how this so-called rapture will happen, or what the prophesied return of Jesus will look like, but I think it’s wrong to so blatantly scoff at the idea of it. I went to a birthday party instead.
As a Christian, I’m supposed to be looking forward to the return of Christ. I know 99.99+% of Christians believe literally in the Bible verses that say we don’t know when it will happen and it will be surprising. But I haven’t heard any Christians talk lately about how excited they are for that to happen. Instead, it’s laughter and derision. Sure, that’s because some guy who apparently knows the Bible better than anyone ever is predicting dates and hours. But I find in myself not a desire that he be wrong because it would show him to be a loony bin , but frankly, because I don’t feel ready for it. Remember that verse about the sheep and the goats? (Matt 25:31-46) Or Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”
Let’s be honest, verses like those are a little scary. Do I think I’m a horrible human being? No. Am I knowingly trying to use and abuse the name of Jesus for my own gain? No. Do I sometimes disconnect from the real meaning while I’m working audio / visual for an evangelistic performance tour? Yeah, it happens. Have I walked by the hungry, the needy, the thirsty, the sick, and ignored them while hoping they don’t look at me? A lot.
Selfishly and with earth-bound thinking there is still stuff I want to do. Places I want to see, things I want to accomplish. In that sense, I don’t feel ready. But in another sense, I feel like I’m failing my savior and my soul by skipping like a goat past the homeless guys under the bridge by my office. At best, it would be downright embarrassing if Jesus came back right now.
I could be, but I doubt I am, alone in this.
Which leads me to think: We’re doing it wrong.
But you know who is excited about the rapture? Who really cannot wait for it to happen? Atheists. And pretty much the rest of the world. Atheists are stoked for the rapture! They’re planning post-rapture parties and getting ready to loot the left over stuff. I’m pretty sure as much as they don’t believe in a god, they really want this one part to be true.
Because then we’d all be gone.
Wait, what? All the Christians are gone and the rest of the world throws a party?
We’re doing it wrong.
If we’re too busy making sure our pets are taken care of to the point that we are ignoring people, something needs to change.
Actually, as silly as it sounds, in a weird illogical logical way, that isn’t a horrible idea. If the rapture is going to look like the Left Behind series, wouldn’t a good pet owner make sure their animals weren’t left out in the cold to die when Jesus takes the owners home? But wouldn’t a good Christian care more about making sure their neighbors (in the broad Jesus sense of the word) were cared for, or better yet, came along with them instead?
This is the crux of the whole issue: the response that the “non-believing” portion of the world is having right now is shining a light on the fact that Christians as a population are viewed as crack-pots, not a loving and serving people that the rest of the world would miss. Think of it this way: when you move away, do you want to be missed and remembered by people? When you die, do you want people at your funeral because they will miss having you around? Apparently, when Christians leave, they won’t be missed. Yeah, there will be a goodbye party, but it’s not the kind you want.
Christians don’t love and care for people and the world enough that they will still want us around. The rapture? Good riddance.
Another great post!! I want to spread this one around!
Apparently someone once asked Tony Campolo when Jesus was coming back and when he said he didn’t know was asked why he didn’t have a prediction. His answer: I’m not on the planning committee, I’m on the welcoming committee.
It’s hard to not feel guilty every time you pass a homeless person or a beggar. But then again, I dislike giving them money, knowing that they might go and buy more liquor or give it to whoever is making them beg. There are loads of Roma gypsy beggars here. I wonder what their lives must have been like to want to leave Romania. Could it REALLY be worse than standing in the cold and rain in Belfast while the world denies them a couple coins, or worse, are totally indifferent to them?
You’re right – we’re getting it wrong. Like you, I wish I did more – what’s the cost, really, of a cup of tea? It could mean a glimmer of Christ to them. I can’t really look down on them cause I get a funny feeling that I’m looking straight into Jesus’ eyes when I meet theirs.