It’s ten days until the Rapture, at least according to a number of evangelicals and fundamentalists. The billboards announcing the beginning of the end of days even caught the attention of the hosts of the View, who discussed it on two different days.
The date of the Rapture has been predicted at least twice previously in my lifetime, and if it came, Jesus was awfully quiet about it. But even if it happens this May, I’m prepared to volunteer to stay behind.
You see, the notion of evacuating the good guys and leaving the bad guys to suffer seems totally contrary to the Jesus of the Gospels. He repeatedly insisted that the main occupation of Christians is to serve others, and not just the good guys either. This was one of the key points behind the Good Samaritan parable.
Who stopped to help the victim? None of the religious or pious. It was the Samaritan (think secular humanist or Moslem in modern parlance). The most reviled is the most honored because he took time from his life to render assistance at his own expense.
So there seem to be two messages in this parable that could shine light on the Rapture. Jesus intends to Rapture out the pious so that they won’t be around to interfere with the heathens who will render assistance to those suffering from the end-time tribulations, or to distract them with messages like, “Don’t help these people. They don’t deserve it. Go to church and be like us.”
Or, and I think this is more likely, the faithful will be needed during the end of days to minister to the needs of those most afflicted. It is the example of faith that will inspire those desperate for hope and redemption.
So if Christians do get the offer of a free pass, they might consider being grateful but declining graciously. Let the ones who want to relish the destruction of others get the royal treatment during the end of times. They probably won’t be much use anyway.
Byron said he would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. I’m not saying I would rather serve in hell than rule in heaven, but I have to think Jesus and those he loves would be better served if I volunteer to wait a few more years. I could be really missing the point, but I also suspect that the call to service doesn’t end with the end of times.