Judgment Day

This Saturday I will be sitting outside for five hours in what will hopefully be better weather than we’ve had, watching my brother graduate from college.

There is another big event scheduled for Saturday, and that, according to a certain faction, is the rapture. Since I’m Catholic and therefore bound to be left behind, I hadn’t bothered to pay much attention when the billboards and folks with signs started showing up around the neighborhood. A week or so ago I became curious enough to at least find out why they had chosen May 21 for Judgment Day.

Photo from the St. Patrick's Day parade, courtesy of Kelly

I shouldn’t have been surprised that it involved a literal reading of Scripture. I believe that God is revealed to us through Scripture – but at the same time I believe that Revelation involves relationship. Everything about God is relationship, all the way down to God’s own Triune nature, so why would our relationship to Scripture be any different? It is not an immovable object with one set meaning, but a rich message that exists just as much in the space between itself and the reader as it does in a book on the table.

“A thousand years are like a day in your sight”. I laughed out loud when I read that was part of the “formula” used to determine Judgment Day. I could imagine some of the youngest kids I’ve worked with recognizing that as figurative language. That is really beautiful poetry. It is not a a piece of a mathematical proof. As for the dating of the flood to precisely 7000 years ago this Saturday…let’s just say that those sorts of puzzles are not how I spend my time. Maybe I should, though. It would be comforting to have the answers to the soul’s biggest questions.

I don’t go to religion looking for simple answers. I suppose I don’t go looking for confusion, either. Faith gives me a prism through which to see the confusion that is already in the world. The fundamental truths of faith – that God loves us, that we are here to love each other – don’t simplify anything. They make things more confusing, but doing so they turn the mess of life into something worth living for.

Every day we decide how we will participate in God‘s saving grace. It would be nice to have an equation that shows exactly how salvation will play out. But how can we imagine there is an equation to mercy and love?

Just in case, I should say that I hope the rapture occurs before the graduation ceremony. If we sit through that whole thing just to get left behind, I’m going to be irked.

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