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23 May 2011

The rapture that wasn't meant to be

So, the world didn't end on Saturday at 6pm. Not that I thought it was going to, but there was a group of crazy Protestants who thought it was going to. I'm not exactly sure where they got their information, but it certainly wasn't very convincing. At least not for me. But rapture or no rapture, I felt pretty confident given that I was at mass when it was supposed to happen. And I love that Father Dan made light of all this rapture nonsense during his homily. He got up to the podium after reading the Gospel and said, "I have good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that the world is going to end in about 45 minutes. The good news is that you are in the right place." That got a solid laugh from the congregation.

All this rapture talk has also got me asking questions.

I've known from the get-go that these doomsday "predictions" were base-less, but it always amazing me that people actually make them in public. And what happens when those predictions are wrong (as they have been so far)? What do these prophets say then? Do they have some wicked good comeback and explanation about why they were wrong? Do they just adjust their dates and say their math was a little off?

Supposedly Saturday was exactly 7,000 years TO THE DAY of Noah's flood. I find that quite hard to swallow. The Bible that I read doesn't have dated entries, and, while some biblical scholars have "calculated" dates based on genealogy of the patriarchs, I'm not really swallowing that pill. I guess as a literature person, I view the Bible in a much more literary, allegorical, and figurative way and have no need to look at it through the lens of science and math. Given that and the fact that our accounting of days and months and years has changed repeatedly throughout history, I just can't believe that we are capable of calculating such a precise date and time.

And finally, I find it incredibly pompous and presumptuous to ignore this little passage from Matthew: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" (24:36). Hmmm ... well, I guess that nullifies all that has been said about this pending rapture. Why does God not tell us when it is going to happen? Because He doesn't want us to know. He doesn't want us to do some last minute CYA moves to prove our goodness and worthiness. He wants us to live a righteous life each and every day, regardless of when the rapture is supposed to start. 

In fact, we should live every day like the rapture is coming tomorrow. 

That's what I've learned from the rapture that wasn't. How about you?

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