Saturday Night Rapture

Posted: May 20, 2011 by Jim Killam in church culture, Idiot Friday, missional living, pop culture
Tags: , , , ,

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Oh, and that one radio minister in Oakland, Calif.

— Matthew 24:36 (2011 expanded version)

It’s been another damage-control week for Christians, after the news media and pop culture have seized upon the predictions of one Harold Camping and his Family Radio Network. In case you’ve been hiding in your fortified bunker and haven’t heard, Camping is convinced the Rapture will happen at 6 p.m. Saturday. He also has a lot of money. So, he’s been buying billboards, radio ads and newspaper ads to warn people.

Not much more need be said about self-appointed prophets of doom with their prophecy charts and mathematical calculations. See our previous post: Say Cheese. Also see: Leeroy Jenkins.

But …

I must have heard or read a dozen conversations this week along the lines of, “If this was your last day on earth, what would you do?” This is not a bad question to ask oneself periodically. Movies like “The Bucket List” have posed it, only with the protagonists given quite a bit more time.

With only one day’s notice, your options diminish.

Would I travel? If I wanted to go anywhere exotic, I’d end up spending the whole day in an airport or on a plane. So that’s out.

Would I make a sign that says “Repent! The End is Near” and hang out at a busy intersection (which is basically what our friend Mr. Camping has been doing)? Nah. What impact am I going to have on a bunch of strangers who think I’m a nut?

Would I go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu? Only if I wanted to spend my last day on earth in a hospital.

The one-day-to-live question actually may be a better question than the six-months-to-live question. Because it doesn’t allow for any planning, any wild trips to Vegas or Mount Everest, or even any methodical charity. You have one day. The way you’ve lived your life up until now is really all you have to draw on.

Would I spend the day with loved ones, not doing anything crazy or expensive, but just letting them know how much they mean to me? I think so. And I think a lot of other people would, too.

See, if I treat my faith like fire insurance, the one-day question becomes a lot more important than it should. Then I’m thinking: “I’d better use my last day to make up for lost time and get right with God.” Whereas, if I live intentionally and with a sense that, really, ANY day could be my last … then whether I have one day left or 20,000, it doesn’t make a big difference. I’m already right with God. I’ve shared that with as many people as I could. I have cultivated friendships and lived my faith in front of people instead of pounding them over the head with it from a safe distance.

So, yes, I do believe Jesus will return one day, as the Bible says. I also believe Mr. Camping is a nut. But if his doomsday predictions have indirectly caused people to ponder important questions, maybe he’s done some good after all. Even if we’re all still here on Sunday.


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