Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rapture and Tornadoes

So, the world didn't end on May 21, 2011.  Jesus didn't appear, and those who followed him were not raptured away from this world on Saturday, never to face pain or evil or suffering again.

On Sunday, tornadoes devastated Joplin, Missouri, and destroyed homes and lives nearer to me, in Northeast Minneapolis.  Not the apocalypse, but for those who experienced it:  close enough.

To me, the most disturbing thing about believing in the rapture is not the propensity to choose exact dates. It's the idea that some followers of Jesus believe that they will escape great suffering while the majority of the human race goes through the tribulation.  There sometimes seems to be an unseemly glee when some recount the misery that others will encounter after they themselves are raptured.

First of all, there is plenty of evidence that followers of Jesus are going through, and not escaping, tribulation, every day.

And second, I would hope and pray that in the event of tribulations, in the event of disasters, the last thing that followers of Jesus would want to do is escape. I would hope and pray that followers of Jesus would follow Jesus:  more deeply into the suffering, into the tribulation: to bind up wounds, to heal, to comfort, to rebuild, to make peace.   I would hope that followers of Jesus would want to be in Joplin, Missouri, in Northeast Minneapolis, as well as in chemotherapy wards, in hospice care units, on battlefields, showing the mercy of God, showing the face of the love of God.

Until the real last day.  Whenever that is.