Why is it that humans are so fascinated with the end of time? Time is one of the ways we organize our world, one of the few that all persons agree upon.
Harold Camping, self-styled evangelist and eschatologist, predicted that the world would end and the rapture would come on Saturday. It's Saturday as I write this, and I see no sign of rapture, except maybe the monthly rapture that comes when my checkbook balance is to-the-penny-perfect.
What is it about Christians that seems to want the Rapture? Could it be that Christianity has become so craven and dogmatic a practice that those who are mired in the swamp of it can't wait to get out? That makes me sad because that's not what Christianity is, not by any stretch. In fact, that's like thinking that Osama bin Laden's version of Islam was real Islam. It wasn't.
And speaking of Osama, one of his grave promises to male suicide bomber martyrs was that 72 virgins would be awaiting them in Heaven. Similarly, the Risen Lord is allegedly awaiting the Christians who are chosen to be raised up in the Rapture.
This waiting business is one of my big beefs with organized religion. Waiting? Waiting for what? The only time God knows is now. In God, there is no waiting. You can visit with God in any now you choose, and in every now. AA has a brilliant saying: If you can't see God, guess who turned away?
The hardest thing about this religious waiting business is that it's robbery of those who believe in it. Altar Guild ladies come to mind, serving priests good and bad, whilst "earning" their way into a heavenly reward. I don't think God's like that.
Life isn't about a heavenly reward; it's about an earthly reward. That's why it takes place, for us, on Earth. What earthly reward might that be? Put in the simplest way possible: joy in living, no matter what's happening. Good stuff, bad stuff, and all the stuff in between.
Time isn't our enemy, dear one. It helps us cooperate with one another, and organize what we do on our own and together. Waiting for the End Times is an eschatological trap. It robs us of the present, which is the only place where we get to experience joy.
I looked up rapture in the OED and was startled to find the Christian definition so easily bandied about these days as an addition made to the original definition in 1993! The Rapture, as a Christian concept, hasn't been around for very long.
What is universal is that all of us wait for something. A new dress, a new love, a new life. The action that rises from true rapture is praise. If you want rapture, my friend, begin to give, to give thanks for the joy that is happening right now right in front of you. If the end of time knocks on your door, of, for that matter, if the Risen Lord knocks on your door, invite them both in for a joyous cup of tea.
So here's what's enraptured me today. My sweet, talented friend, Virginia, was born thirty-some years ago today. Yes, Virginia, the miracle of your birth has me enraptured with joy today and every day. Thanks for being born.
That's the kind of praise that will keep you enraptured with joy day in and day out.