'I don't know where we went wrong other than that we obviously don't understand the Scriptures in the way that we should.'
- Tom Evans, board member of Family Radio
Maybe - its one of the most beautiful words in our language. Its a word that keeps us just a little off balance and possibly just a little humble, if we'll let it. Was Harold Camping wrong about May 21st? Well, maybe...I thought about this yesterday because I kept seeing/hearing/reading jeers. My opinion is even the faithful who said 'no one knoweth the day, Harold' still said it with a grin of 'see, I told you so.' Its fairly easy for the right hand to feign concern for those folks who gave up their life savings, while at the same time the left waves them away as 'moe-rons.' Most of how we feel, one way or the other, about Saturday hinges on a literalism; it didn't happen in the literal way we think it will or thought it would. But what if (three more beautiful words) something happened just a little less trumpet-blasting-sky-splitting-wish-we'd-all-been-ready style?
I'm not a theologian nor do I play one on tv, but I wonder if maybe seeds were planted on Saturday that will take time to bud? Sure, God could just start beaming believers up to the Spirit in the sky...or God could drop a seed of discontent in the mind of a man or woman or child, a seed that would sprout a root of bitterness for the jeering ways of this world, a root that would wrap itself 'round that man or woman or child's thoughts to the extent they would live in this world but not of it. Is that the rapture as we and Harold and co. see it? I doubt it. That's not very literal. That sounds all quiet and hidden and subversive, like the sorta thing God might do...maybe.
Sure, God could line us up, one by no-one-righteous-one, flash the story of our lives on a jumbotron for all the world to see, then finger the lines in an oversized Book of Life to see if our name's written down...or maybe God could ordain a day, any day I guess, maybe even a day like May 21st, as the end-of-tarrying, and allow us to judge ourselves...in other words, its within God's parameters to let the way we faithed, hoped, and loved on Saturday to be our best shot. Am I saying we oughta live every day like its our last? Well, I prefer to encourage living every day like its your first, but yes, that is the gist. If we were judged by how Saturday went, how'd we do? Was spending the day online holier than standing on a hillside with suitcase in hand? That gets a little fuzzy for me.
But isn't there then a sentencing after the judgement, where we're all revealed as either sheep or goats? What if Saturday was judgement day and now we're living out our sentencing here on earth...that God's letting us feed in the green pastures a little longer or butt our horns against the gate a few more days. Then again, it may one day be revealed we're neither sheep nor goats but pigs and God decided to let us wallow in it. Not a very literal judgement, huh? But something along those lines could happen...maybe.
The dearth of imagination in our collective faith never ceases to amaze me...as does the short leash of mercy we extend one to another. Oink.