Monday, May 23, 2011

The End Of The World, Part II: When you come back again. . . would you bring me something from the fridge?

I don't really believe that Jesus is ever coming back. If I did, I'd being living with a sense of urgency, and I'd be getting stuff done.

I'd be a free-spirited, crunchy granola social justice and environmentalism fanatic. I would be involved in AFAC and ASPAN beyond sending a check or some canned food once a year. I would produce a bag lunch and a gift card for every homeless person who stopped me on the street. I would definitely not be wearing business-casual slacks and blazers; I would be in some kind of homespun fair-trade organic Quaker plain dress. I would be so humble that everyone would notice.

I would have read the entire Bible and retained all of it, and wouldn't have to do a search on when I'm trying to remember a particular teaching of Christ. I would be up to speed on religious culture in the Middle East, ecumenical efforts at home, and the latest from Miroslav Volf. I would be able to follow and contribute to every theological discussion that I encounter. I would dedicate several hours a day to prayer and contemplation.

I would be living like I believed that the Second Coming might possibly be next week, or at least within my lifetime. I would be living like someone aware of her own mortality, beyond my phobias of being disemboweled in a horrific traffic collision or of being out walking and somehow randomly veering toward the railing and falling off of an overpass. I would never have to worry about being the kind of person who'd end up at the far end of her lifespan, looking back and wondering why the hell she put her time and energy into things that didn't ultimately matter; I would have done everything with vigor and made the best kind of difference in the world.


Or maybe I'd quit living. Maybe I'd let my bills run past due and stop scooping the litter box and not bother showing up to spend time with my friends. Maybe I'd stop recycling because-- hey-- Jesus is about to recycle the whole freaking world, right?

It seems like one thing that belief in an imminent apocalypse does is to suck all of the meaning out of life. Creative work is a waste of time. Relationships exist for the purpose of converting the other person as quickly as possible. If the God who breathed the world into being is only five minutes away from showing up in the flesh, somehow that makes God's world worthless.

So the world didn't end. That's a good thing, and not just because it leaves one more day for us to work on getting things right and becoming awesome Christians. It's a good thing because it's a good world. It's the world that God made, and it's the world that God likes enough to keep around.

No comments:

Post a Comment