Monday, April 11, 2011

How Should We Live?

So, we're counting down to May 21. The latest prediction is that May 21 is definitely the day of the "rapture." I know you thought it would come like a thief in the night, totally unpredictable, catching people unawares, etc., but apparently you were wrong. It's coming on May 21. Or, in 2012. It depends on whether you invest more trust in Harold Camping's 70-year study of the Bible, or the ancient Mayan's millennia-old prognostications. I'm thinking that if we're going to have a countdown, we ought to go with May 21, because I can't think of enough things to blog about all the way to the end of 2012.

So, May 21 it is. I invite you to join me in accepting Mr. Camping's conclusions and his certainty about this date. I invite you to imagine how we ought to live, if we believe that May 21 is the day the rapture will take place.

First and foremost: We ought to repent - that's a given, isn't it? After all, what does it profit us to gain the whole world if we lose our souls? Then, we ought to invite others to repent also - that's how we act in love. Only, let's take a broad view of the word "repent."

To repent is not simply to say, "God, I'm sorry. Please forgive me; wash my sins away; take me to heaven when I die or when you return, whichever comes first." That kind of repentance is not really biblical repentance. It's more akin hedging a bet or purchasing fire insurance or simply trying to appease a guilty conscience. I have no problem with hedging bets (although I don't gamble), purchasing fire insurance (okay, maybe I do gamble, because I have insurance), or appeasing a guilty conscience (no comment). BUT, biblical 'repentance' involves more than all of that. It involves a re-orientation of life.

So, let's live as if the rapture is coming on May 21. Let's confess our sins, let's accept the good news of the gospel that, in Christ, we are forgiven. And, let's live in the newness of a life that is set free from the threat of hell, from the guilt of sin, and from the anxiety of whether or not we are "right with God." To those things, we say, "God's grace is even greater than my sins or my anxieties" and leave it at that. THEN, we embrace our lives anew. We are forgiven, who can we forgive in order to live out our repentance? We are accepted, despite our failures. Who can we accept that we have previously rejected? We are called "beloved children of God." Who can we love that we have previously despised or hated?

Wow! We have a lot to do before May 21!

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