So, apparently tomorrow is Judgement Day.
I missed the memo.
Okay, so I saw the billboards and was a bit surprised because, as you may have heard, The Book says that no one would know the date and time. Even Jesus said He wasn’t privy (at the time I presume) to that information. And our new prophet du jour falsely predicted the Return in 1994 so, if you are a pure literalist, according to the Old Testament, he should have been stoned. Yep, false prophecy was a capital offense. That would go a long way towards deterring stupidity in our pulpits! But hey, what can I say, this guy has the same average as I do on predicting the Return. Course, I haven’t actually been to bat.
All that snark out of the way, from a faith standpoint, Jesus can come back whenever He wants. It could be tomorrow, I suppose. I hope it is, because if it’s not, all the rest of us pastors will have to carry water for another crackpot and frankly, I grow weary of it.Here’s the thing, though. These doomsday predictions are very, very important and even when they prove false, they teach us, all of us, believer and unbeliever alike, a valuable lesson about paradigm.
One time my brother was visiting a friend who lived in a rent house where he and his wife had been for a year or so. My bro had just worked out and was hot and sweaty and in need of a drink. He walks to the fridge and opens it up. Now all he sees to drink in there is a quart size can of orange juice, opened, so he figures that’ll do just fine and he grabs it. He put it to his lips and knocked it back, driven by his thirst. As the sweet nectar ran refreshingly down his throat, it occurred to him that orange juice wasn’t supposed to be quite this lumpy. Then the rancid taste of the aged oj hit him. As he tells it, he spit and coughed and viscous black liquid that used to be orange juice came out of his mouth. Gagging he ran to the sink and was rinsing his mouth out when his friend ran in to ask what had happened. After hearing the explanation, my brother’s friend guffawed! He told my bro that the orange juice can had been in there since they first moved in! They just never took it out of the fridge!
Here’s the stuff, y’all. Life, like canned orange juice, has an expiration date and we don’t know when that date is. My faith and experience tells me that I will meet Jesus one day. If it’s at His Return, cool. If it’s through death, well, not as cool, but that’s the way it is. And for all of us, if the Apocalypse begins tomorrow or December 21, 2012 (what’ with all the 21’s? hmm) 0r doomsday finds you as a flood, hurricane, tornado or earthquake; or maybe in a car accident or illness or old age; doomsday will come. We have an expiration date.
This truth must be apprehended. We had best give it some thought. The clock is ticking, which prompts me to ask some very important questions to both my Christian and non-Christian friends.
1. Are you living? Specifically are you living a full life, every day? I don’t mean, “are you partying?” No, I mean are you living a real, joyful, meaningful life? Are you loving with all your might? Are you finding the thrill in every moment? Are you treating every day with the ones you love as the last time? Are you saying the words that people need to hear? Are you living? If not, why not?
2. Have you looked into the possibility of God? I’m not preaching, I’m asking a legitimate question. As close as we live to whatever lies beyond our here and now, we probably should look into it, really look into it. Don’t cop out because the church hurt you or you don’t believe x or what have you. As much as the scientists and philosophers would have us believe otherwise, the burden of proof of God doesn’t lie on the believers, there are more of us with a longer history. Ancient wisdom says there is something or someone out there, and science has to disprove it, not the other way around. And the percentage of ignorant hypocrites is the same in the mall or the office as it is in church. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Not everybody in the churches get it. Going to church won’t turn you into a good person any more than frequenting McDonald’s makes you a hamburger.
An even more pointed question from my own faith: Have you looked into the claims of Christ? My own beliefs, of course, lead me to believe that He is the lynchpin of history and that many of the morals we hold dear in the West, equality, peace, forgiveness, brotherhood, charity, spring from His teachings. Something happened all those centuries ago that changed our world. Have you looked into His claims?
3. This ones for my Christian readers-Are you living what you believe? No matter how you look at it, time is short. Are you living your faith in such a way that people can see Jesus in you? Are you a walking contradiction to the tripe that passes as Christianity in the marketplace everyday? Are you washing your church with the word? Are you loving the people in your life sacrificially? Including, maybe even particularly, the unlovable? Your enemies? Who haven’t you forgiven? Who do you need to confess sins to and seek their forgiveness? Who do you need to tell The Story to?
Go live. Go love. Go search. Doomsday tomorrow or not, life is short. Get a life and live it with all that you have!
There is a time limit. Look, live and love. Maybe it is tomorrow. Maybe it’s today. Nothing is guaran