San Diego – I am rushing today to get my end-of-semester grading done and to get at least one more post on this blog/journal/whatever page while I can. Just in case…
“In case of what?” you may well ask. And I will be happy to tell you. It is in case some of you — or even me — may not be here past tomorrow.
You see the news reported today that one Harold Camping, a radio paster on the “Family Radio Worldwide” broadcast ministry has stated categorically that he is 100% certain his calculations are accurate and they point to May 21, 2011 as the day of the “Rapture.” For my good friends out there who are devout heathens and practicing pagans, that is an event foretold somewhat cryptically in the New Testament in which, if some interpretations are correct, all believers living and dead will hear the blast from an Angel’s trumpet and be caught up into the air to ascend into Heaven. Were it to happen it could be a very big deal when people all over (think in cars on the freeway or commercial airline pilots) suddenly disappeared.
Of course there is one small issue, which is the words ascribed to Jeshua/Jesus himself in Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
Pastor Camping has, with extreme confidence if not extreme hubris, taken it upon himself to assert he knows more about such things than the person he accepts as the Son of God but, hey, maybe it will simply be a lucky guess. In any case, many of his followers have quit jobs, plan on spending the day in prayer with their families, and are awaiting this event that formed the basis for a series of stories in the “Left Behind” series.
I must tell you I don’t think there is ever anything wrong with taking a day to spend with your family in prayer or any meditative activity that makes you think about your love of each other and of your faith. Actually I think the world would be a better place if more people did precisely that. But I also think Pastor Camping put an incredible amount of study and effort into trying to answer the wrong questions. After all, if his Lord thought the answer was important he would have told it to his followers.
The real question, in my never humble opinion, is how do you live the days you have no matter how many you have. So if sometime tomorrow whether you are taken into heaven by an angel or hit by a bus, raptured or shot by some deranged gunman, lifted into the air or struck down by a heart attack, in that last miliisecond of life on this plane, can you look back and be pleased with how you gave thanks for the time you had? How you lived and interacted with your fellow man? How you showed your affection for those you claim to love?
If you live every day in such a way that you would have no trouble with that reflection, then I do not think it matters all that much whether we leave this earthly realm by natural or supernatural means tomorrow or years from now. But if, thinking seriously about it now, you would have some trouble with that reflection, then this very moment is the time to start doing everything in your power to make it right. Not because you may not be here beyond tomorrow, not because some of those to whom you owe apologies or explanations or a changed attitude may not be here after tomorrow, but because someday, SOMEDAY you will have to face that moment and whether you are on your way to Heaven or Hell or simply a very long nap in the dirt of oblivion, your abilities to make those amends will be lost forever.
And if, in fact, there actually is a Hell, then what if it were an eternity of forever being made aware of the roads not taken, the hurts given, and the loves withheld? Whoa… that is an eternity I would like to avoid.