It’s been a long, inexorable wait, but spring has come to Western Washington, and not a moment too soon. With all the extra driving associated with Alissa’s injured ankle (which is getting better), I’ve had more opportunities to enjoy the blue skies, warm temperatures and the need for sunglasses. Auspiciously, I found them last week. Still the extra driving simply provided a preview of the week’s main event. I accompanied Harry on his class trip to Edmonds Marina Beach Park.
The weather was so perfect that the sweatshirt remained in the car as we walked along the receding water line on a scavenger hunt. Ferries steamed back and forth across Puget Sound and sailboats bobbed on the swells while we discovered barnacles and closed sea anemones on the rocks. Later, we made our way up the beach through patches of purple lupine and yellow Puget Sound gum weed to the play area where I was able to sit in the sun and watch the children play. It was perfection, except for one problem. It had to end. So we made our way back to the car and stopped for lunch at Hamburger Harry’s in Edmonds. We sat outside under a red umbrella and then grabbed ice cream on the way to the car.
After dropping Harry at daycare, I went in to work for the afternoon. This evening, the kids went to my mom’s while Alissa and I went to dinner and did some much needed planning for our attempt to go gluten-free and all natural starting in June. The kids are in bed now, and I’m reflecting on a wonderful day, my cold and having to go to work notwithstanding.
Of course, one Mr. Harold Camping says that this might be my last day on Earth. I don’t put much stock in Mr. Camping’s prediction of the rapture for a couple of reasons. First, his prediction involves a lot of numerology based on Young Earth Creationism, an overly literal interpretation of the creation narrative that I don’t buy into. More importantly, is the fact that supporters of Camping have promoted his prediction with the slogan “We Can Know.”
No we can’t.
My source on this is none other than Jesus Christ as quoted in Matthew 24:36. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Essentially, Camping, by saying that scripture is a code that can be broken to reveal the dates of the End Times, is saying that Jesus is lying or incorrect. Sorry folks. I’m not going to go along with that premise. As far as I can tell, Jesus didn’t command us to bury our noses in scripture trying to attach meaning to numbers to predict that which He said is not predictable. He commanded us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.
This raises an interesting question for Christians, however. We should want this, shouldn’t we? If we are confident of our salvation, our identity as Christians, should we not be eagerly anticipating the rapture? After all, it represents the victory of good over evil and the collection of the faithful into Heaven. And yet, I sat there this morning watching children play, and I most definitely did not want the world to end tomorrow. I want to see these kids, mine included, grow up. I want them to experience life, both the victories and defeats. I want to follow through on the plans that Alissa and I are making.
There are some who would say that such sentiments indicate that I’m too “of this world.” But in thinking about it, I realize that the dreams I have for myself and my kids are not a reflection that I’m not Christian enough, but that my aspirations are rooted in that which I know, which I can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
The rapture, the end times, whatever term you want to use are supposed to usher in a new Kingdom that is good beyond my capacity as a human to imagine. Any vision of Heaven that I can imagine is still rooted in my earthly senses, tied to a body that I won’t have anymore.
So, once again, it comes down to faith. I can sit in a park and dream about a future that will get circumvented should the world end. I just have to have faith that the future that will replace it will be greater than I can imagine. I have to have faith that Heaven will be a place of greater joy and contentment that anything in this world, even sitting by the water watching little children play.