One of the headlines for the past month or so has been this prediction by Harold Camping that the rapture is scheduled in less than three days on May 21. Oddly, his website’s online donation page is still active. With two and half days left, do they really need any more donations?
All of this hype is nothing new, not even for Harold who made a similar prediction in the 1990’s. But it adds confusion for Christians and non-Christians alike as to what Scripture actually says about God’s kingdom, its present condition and future advent. Further, it encourages skepticism as those with a superficial understanding of Christianity and Scripture see this as one more water cooler punchline to save for Monday, May 24. The bottom line is that Scripture is clear no one knows, except God, the time or day the end will come.
Actions, like the one Harold Camping is taking, not only encourages others to deride Christianity, but makes it more difficult for those faithfully conveying the message of the Bible to be heard. One thing I would agree with Harold on is that there will be a full and final advent of God’s kingdom, but the mechanical sequence of events or when those events take place are not ours to be fully known. God’s kingdom is already present, but has not yet come fully. Like Harold, I would say there is an urgency to share the Gospel and for people to respond, but precisely because we do not know the day or hour the option to make that response will cease. Urgency is about all I agree with him on this subject.
Sadly, this story has captured the national media’s attention and kept it. Missing from the headlines are the stories of Christians helping orphans and widows, feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless, and most of all, sharing the amazing story of the cross that changes lives forever. Missing is the compelling story about the community formed when the church is being the Church. A community that demonstrates the messianic reign of Christ in the midst of our culture, being salt and light. I pray we will be faithful to our identity and calling as new creations in Christ and look forward to meaningful worship on Sunday, May 22nd.