If you are reading this, then you are among those left behind. But don’t feel too bad, for all of your friends, myself included, are also still here.
Frankly, I did not expect the world to end at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, as predicted by Harold Camping. I was a little suspicious when Mr. Camping did not give away his money, estimated at $118 million in 2008. Certainly if he had faith in his calculations, he would want to give his money away. I mean, he didn’t expect to take it with him, did he?
What about his Family Radio network? Did Mr. Camping cancel all contracts? Were sponsors, donors, program hosts and others notified that the network would shut down, that is of course, after a prerecorded tape was played informing the rest of us that the Rapture occurred, and we were left behind.
Perhaps Mr. Camping’s calculations were off by a digit or two? Not so, says Camping. He has done his job. The world has been warned. It is now under “spiritual” judgment, and the material end has been rescheduled for October 21.
Mr. Camping announced on Sunday that he was “flabbergasted.” When asked by reporters at a Monday news conference about all those followers who gave up jobs, gave away their money, sold their homes, and much more, Mr. Camping’s response was rather nonchalant: “We at Family Radio never tell people what to do with their possessions. . . . That is totally between them and God.” When asked about whether he would give back any of the millions of dollars given to Family Radio by the faithful, the not so surprising response was that the organization would continue doing God’s work.
I was attending a graduation ceremony at Union University in Tennessee, when the Rapture was supposed to occur. The service was outside, as is traditional there. A large clock tower served as a backdrop. Over six thousand visitors were waiting to watch the new graduates cross the stage and receive their hard-earned degrees.
It was a beautiful afternoon, although very hot. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The Bible says that when Jesus Christ returns, the clouds will part. Since there were no clouds, and the sun was beating down on all of us sitting in those plastic chairs, I assumed that everything in the program would take place without interruption.
As I sat there waiting, I occasionally looked up at the clock. It must be six feet across. At one point, just minutes before the clock would strike 6:00 p.m., a bird flow up and landed just below the clock. Was it an ill-omen, or a promise?
I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be raptured, at least not before all those students received their degrees. Can you imagine, over six thousand people suddenly flying up to the sky? I reminded myself that Union University was not Hogwarts. It is a Christian university.
I looked up at the clock. The little hand was on six, and the big hand pointed straight up at the twelve. The university band began to play “Pomp and Ceremony.” The graduates began to march in; all decked out in black robes and funny hats, and some with gold pins and breaded cords.
I listened for the sound of thunder, or the blast of trumpets, or a great chorus of angels in the sky singing Beethoven’s “Song of Joy” or Handel’s “Halleluiah” chorus from The Messiah. I looked around me. Everyone was still seated. Everyone was looking at the stage below the big clock. Nothing unusual happened.
As I sat there, not knowing whether to worry or feel relieved, the president of the university stood up and walked to the microphone. He welcomed the visitors—parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends of the graduates. He asked that everyone turn off their cell phones and hold their applauses until the appropriate time. Then the service began and proceeded according to schedule, just like every graduation.
The Rapture has not occurred. We are not left behind. There will be an end to all that is, but no one can predict the time. C.S. Lewis once said, that when the Lord returns, we Christians should be busy doing what we were commanded to be doing, not sitting around trying to predict the time. I agree.
Until next time, be good to all God’s creation, and always live under the mercy.