Christ United Presbyterian Church
It's not the end of the world (and I?feel fine)
A few months ago I received a pamphlet in the mail. In big black letters it read, "Judgment Day May 21st, 2011." Most likely, you received one too. I kept my copy because in the weeks that followed folks have called, emailed and asked me over coffee about what does this "end of the world" May 21st mean?
After I received the brochure, I started checking with my colleagues around the country and found that in bigger cities, there are billboards and even an RV caravan complete with May 21st "save the date" notices. According to the man who started the promotion, beginning at 6 a.m. tomorrow on the Pacific Rim, 3 percent of the population, which amounts to 200 million people, will be taken up into heaven.
Harold Camping, who last made this same prediction for September of 1994, is not an ordained pastor with a church, and has no formal religious training. He can't read or speak Greek, Hebrew or Jesus' native Aramaic. Now, none of those skills are necessary to read your Bible or hear and follow God's Word and Way. However, Camping arrived at his calculations using his own private and unique interpretation of Scripture, one that for me is clearly not based in sound or reliable principles of Biblical interpretation.
Based on his interpretation, there are people around the country who have quit their jobs, stopped paying their bills and pulled their children out of school, because they are convinced none of those things will matter after tomorrow. We all know this is not the first time some people have made such choices, nor will it be the last. If you know anyone like that, do him or her a favor. Invite them to church on Sunday and don't say, "I told you so!"
What are your plans for the weekend? I know some of my friends are planning graduation parties tomorrow. With the weeks of effort that can go into preparing these celebrations, a few have joked that maybe they can just stop cleaning! Keep cleaning friends. After tomorrow you will still have wonderful reasons to celebrate. As for me, I plan to attend graduation parties and prepare for worship on Sunday like I do most Saturdays.
I believe with all my heart, mind and soul that someday, we will all see God face to face and I trust we are all in for some surprises. When and how that will happen, I have no idea and I am completely content with that. What I do know is that the way I live my life today matters. In grateful response to God's grace, I choose every day to live faithfully and fearlessly, trusting Jesus who is God's final Word. I pray that is your choice as well. On Sunday, May 22, 2011, I plan to be in church praising God as we celebrate the welcome of another precious little one into God's family by baptism. The Gospel for the day contains Jesus' reassurance found in John 14 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." In whatever the future holds, we can trust Jesus. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid.