About two weeks ago, I began seeing billboards around Phoenix urging people to save the date because the return of Christ (and the rapture) will take place on May 21 – just 12 days from now. Dig into the We Can Know website, and you’ll see a second prediction that the earth will be destroyed on Oct. 21.
I’m not much for betting, but I’ll bet $1,000 that come 12:01 a.m. May 22, the “We Can Knowers” will be admitting they were wrong. (By the way, I’m not sure what time zone is being used, but regardless, I believe they’ll be proved wrong.) It seems like a good bet for both them and me. They’re sure they’re right, so they shouldn’t worry about having to pay up. If I’m wrong, they won’t be around to collect.
I grew up in a Lutheran tradition (grade school, high school and college) that stayed far away from teachings like the rapture and dispensationalism (the idea that God will be relating to people in different ways under different covenants at different times in the future). I learned that Christianity isn’t about focusing on the “end times” and who will be going to heaven and hell. I was told that we shouldn’t worry about the end times; the God who told the story about the Good Shepherd who went after one lost sheep when he had 99 in the fold will do everything he can to make sure as many people as possible will be with him.
I believe Christianity is primarily about redemption and transformation – letting the Spirit of God work in your life to make you more like Christ each day. We’ll never be Christ, we’re not meant to be God, but we are moving toward becoming the perfect humans we were created, in the image of God, to be. We’re meant to be growing in our ability to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (in the words of Micah 6:8). I believe in an afterlife, I believe in heaven, and I think we’ll be perfected there. Meantime, we need to be yielding to and cooperating with the Spirit to help the transformation happen.
So, if things are more or less the same on May 22 as they are today, I won’t be looking to make fun of anyone. Instead, I hope that people will focus more on what they can do in the here and now and let the end times take care of themselves.
What do you think?