Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rapture: Yearning for Home

     It’s easy to make fun of the folks planning to be swept up in the Rapture tomorrow.  The media attention has been unrelenting.  I even understand there are supposed businesses that will take care of your pets when you’re raptured… for a small fee.  I got caught up in the silliness this evening as I chuckled and clicked “Like” next to a friend’s status on Facebook where it seems he’s planning to attend a “Post-rapture Looting” event to snag some sweet stereo equipment.  I’m always amazed people don’t know that the Rapture and in fact the entire kettle of strange end-times fish are rather recent innovations that appeared in the 1800’s, but have never been part of historical Christian teaching.

     But I wonder… what causes people to buy into what appears to be a burgeoning industry of predicting the end of the world?  If we stop dismissing these folks long enough to really look at them, I suspect we would find something we can recognize in each of us: the yearning for home… the yearning for certainty in a very uncertain world.  How comforting to know when that ticket home can be expected!  How humanly gratifying to also see all the bad guys get their comeuppance and the good guys (you being one of them, of course) win the grand prize, eternal bliss!  I understand yearning for home.  I understand getting weary of all the vagaries of life.  And I love Bruce Willis and Clint Eastwood films where the bad guys get what’s coming to them.  I get it.

     With understanding comes just a bit of sympathy.  I believe in heaven – oh, probably not like most people imagine it, but I do believe in that time outside of time and place outside of all places where things get fixed.  I believe that God is in the process of drawing all things back into God’s self.  There are rough days where I really yearn for this time where no kids will ever be hurt again, where no one will have to die, and where I will both know and be fully known.  Yet, I know the kingdom is here; it is among us; there’s work to do.  Jesus never promised it wouldn’t storm, he just promised he’d stay in the boat with us – we’re never alone.  That’s why the incarnation was so important.  That’s why he became fully human, while remaining fully God.

     There are likely to be a lot of disappointed and surprised people come Saturday.  The media is going to be tough on them.  I hope they don’t lose their faith over it, but I hope their faith matures.  Their only crime is gullibility.  But I understand their yearnings.  I want the world set to rights too.  I yearn for home.  And if we’re honest, I suspect we’ve all had times where, like St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 16, we’ve whispered the word Maranatha! – Our Lord, come!


  1. I agree that we all have this need for 'all manner of things to be well', but am afraid the burgeoning industry which makes profit out of the 'end-time' lunacy will affect the mental health of the more gullible.
    Sunday morning is going to find a larger and more penitent congregation than usual in most churches I suspect.

  2.      You're right, of course. The spiritual damage left in the wake of such misuse of scripture is awful.

         I also suspect very little gets done in the way of loving one's neighbor or caring for the poor or seeking justice since there's really no point to it if the world ends tomorrow.

  3. "the yearning for certainty in a very uncertain world"

    I think this cuts both ways.

    With every "Rapture Fail", w/ every Creationist themepark . . . w/ every anti-gay marriage law (and their obligatory "Man-on-Dog"-type references >:-( ), the non- and (esp.) anti-believing among us grow more CERTAIN in their belief in Nothing-ness. No supernatural, ONLY empirical-evidence-via-sense-perception, repeatable. No afterlife, no Higher Power, no Eternal Love.

    Me, I live in hope. With DOUBT, but in Hope. Eternal Hope, in God's Time (not Harold Camping's!)

  4. You're right, JCF. It paints us all with the same brush in the eyes of much of society. I think it cheapens the real hope you speak of when it is hijacked by these self-appointed end-times prophets who turn it into this kind of a carnival.

    And, why is it that it's always "Man-on-Dog"?! ::: deep heavy sigh :::

  5. I do think some will loose their faith, and I don't think all the media hype is helpful in that respect. Gentleness is a good operative word and maybe gentleness will help some find a stronger faith.


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