A little back story. I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene. There was talk about rapture. We were shown the film "A Thief in The Night" in youth group. When I was a child, and I could not find my mother, I would call out her name. She thought I had attachment issues and called me her "shadow;" I thought the "rapture" happened and I had been "left behind." I would lay in bed at nights, replaying the entire day in my head, praying for forgiveness for any and every sin I may have committed, fearing that I may have missed something that, again, would leave me "left behind." Growing up, the idea of the rapture brought fear, nothing but fear.
Flash forward to today. I don't subscribe to rapture theology; I find it unbiblical and without basis in theological and ecclesial tradition. However, with tomorrow being the day a small group of people are declaring "Judgment Day," there is a small part of me that is still fearful and anxious.
Brad asked me, hypothetically, why I would be left behind if such thing existed. I responded, "I cuss too much." When I say it aloud, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. However, consider this: growing up I was told, by a youth pastor, that if I were in a car, about to crash, and my final word was "shit," I would "go to hell." In that moment, I would lose all grace and salvation that had been offered to me in Christ Jesus. Brad responded in disbelief. His upbringing was different. He did not hear of "the rapture" until he reached high school, and salvation wasn't something dependent on doing the right things or not doing the wrong things. Then, I thought about it more, and I said, "I don't love people enough. I don't go to church enough. I don't...enough."
The more I think about it, the more I realize that nothing I do will ever be enough. I could do every act of piety imaginable, yet, I would still be in need of grace--the grace that is given freely to me (to all of us!) in Jesus.
When I think about it like this, much of the anxiety fades. I still don't buy into "rapture theology" or the idea that tomorrow, May 21, 2011, is going to be any different than any other day. However, when I recognize that the pressure is not on me, but is fully dependent on the grace of God, I have an eschatological vision that is not dreadful or full of doom. I have hope.