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Archive for May, 2011

Jesus’ Return

I am writing this long-overdue blog on May 21st, 2011, the day that some folks have predicted that at 6:00 PM the world will end. Well, if you are in Sydney, Australia or Tokyo, the end of the world has already occurred because—according to the man who has put forth this end of the world theory—this is a “rolling rapture,” as in it will occur at 6 PM in each time zone.
Since according to scripture no one knows the time or the day when Jesus will come again, I don’t think this “rolling rapture” theory has any merit, except to line the pockets of those people who are making money off of other people’s fear. However, I’ll be the first to admit that because no one knows, 6:00 PM (in any time zone) is as good a time as any for Jesus to return. Many people will tell us that we need to get “ready” for Jesus’ return (I’m not even going to dignify the use of the word “rapture” since the word doesn’t appear in scripture even once). They propose all sorts of “readying” activities such as Bible reading, day-long prayers, giving away possessions, seeking out and reconciling with old enemies, etc. People who scurry around trying to look holy or religiously busy in the event of Jesus’ immediate return are rather like little children who frantically try to clean up the mess they have made in the their parents’ absence while their parents’ car is turning in the driveway. It’s too little, too late (unless the Cat in the Hat lives at their house!).

That’s not intended as a statement of despair but a statement of hope and confidence. Remember that Paul wrote in Romans, “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing! “Not death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Why should it matter when Jesus returns? 6:00 PM today or 6:00 PM tomorrow or next week or next millennium—our God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow and our God is loving, gracious and forgiving. Our God is not waiting for chance to jump out and scare us, but looking forward to welcoming us home. Our God is not Freddy Krueger but the father who runs to embrace his prodigal son as well as going out to invite the obedient, older son to the celebration.
I know there are some people in the world whose lives are so miserable and unhappy that they would love to see the world end at 6 PM tonight. There are others whose lives are pretty wonderful and they might prefer to wait awhile. No matter–it’s not our decision and as confident as the “Rolling Rapture” folks may sound, there is no formula or equation that will tell us when Jesus will come again. The way that we get ready for Jesus’ return is to live faithful (not perfect!) lives every day, with our hope anchored in the knowledge that the One who created us, the One in whose image we were made, will call us home, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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