Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another rapture come and gone (and I feel fine)

There were no trumpet blasts, no sound of galloping horsemen, no cries of dismay one would expect if folks had up and disappeared at a moment’s notice on Saturday morning.

So 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Jerusalem time – Saturday, May 21, passed without event in Elgin, Ill. I can’t help but think that there were plenty of snickers – and of course there was plenty of evidence of that in Facebook and Twitter.

I have to admit that, as a smart aleck at heart, I contributed to the skeptic’s snicker-fest in the lead-up to the hour when 89-year-old media evangelist Harold Camping had predicted the rapture would occur, when Jesus would pull the faithful into the clouds, setting the stage for the beginning of the end of the world.

As a Camping skeptic, I’d set up my Facebook and Twitter accounts to display this message at 10:59:

“Does anyone else hear trumpets? Golly, it's 10:59 a.m. -- that's almost 6 p.m. Jerusalem time! And is that a galloping sound? I do belie ”

And then, a couple of minutes later, a link to a dinosaur image someone posted online – yes, as you may have guessed, it was a “velocirapture.”

Then, about 11:05, I posted a link to R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” followed with my usual “Pun of the day” (with, of course, a play on rapture) and then the verse from the Bible that should have stopped all Christians who sucked into Camping’s prediction dead in their tracks:

 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father." Matthew 24:36 NIV.

That’s it, plain and simple. The same verse gets cited over and over again every time some knucklehead claims he or she “knows” when the end will be. Sadly, this scenario has played over countless times since the early church. Sadly, those who buy into the baloney forget about Matthew 24:36, in which Jesus lays it out very plainly to his own disciples.

In the past, the reaction to such predictions often has struck me as paranoia among some Christians I’ve known – as I understand the Bible, the rapture should inspire a feeling of excitement, not fear, in the church.

Also in the past, it seemed to me that most people just kind of shrugged off these kinds of predictions, although there always have been a few smart alecks out where willing to laugh at the silliness. This time around, however – and perhaps that’s due in large part to the prevalence of social media today – a lot more people seemed to be paying attention, whether to make fun, take heed or whatever.

Regardless, the day has come and gone without event, and I am curious how Harold Camping is going to excuse this miscalculation, because he has been wrong twice before. I guess in layman’s terms, that’s three strikes.

As for me, I put off the lawn work because it rained here this morning, and when I crawled into bed last night, I slept like a baby.

Today I have people to love, chores to do, cover letters to write, resumes to send out.

It’s just another day, but it’s another opportunity.