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Caught in the Rapture

Posted by on May 22, 2011

In 5th grade I sat in my classroom, along with the other Christian kids, waiting for Christ to return. Dr. Stan Ashby, a professor who was a well respected theologian and historian within our Christian commune, had predicted that this was the big day for Christian followers: The Rapture. We were finally going to see Christ and ascend!

It was 1979 and the weather was just starting to heat up in the Berkshires. I remember feeling a little freaked out by what was to come. I had visions of people being sucked up into a beam of light and taken into the heavens as the clouds parted. Staring out the window at the onset of beautiful warm weather I felt stuck inside. I wanted to run outside and twirl or climb a tree…why be so serious if he’s coming? Why not jump for joy and welcome him back? We were a bunch of sober faced sad sacks. Waiting with our hands on our desks, eyes forward. But what was plan B? What if he didn’t come?

The heavens open

The heavens open for ascension

We waited a long time, not sure how long it was exactly. But I recall my teacher leaving the classroom to talk to another teacher and both of them deciding to resume teaching. Which was a bummer for all of us. I remember thinking, it’s the day of the Rapture and you can’t release us early? Maybe he’s coming later than expected.

I guess I was a little disappointed when it didn’t happen. I had grown up seeing films about being “Left Behind” (the original, not the Kirk Cameron version) and that was my worst fear. I thought maybe that was what had happened, but at least we were all left behind together. So there was some relief in that. I don’t recall how our religious leaders handled the non-rapture event. I’m sure they used some passage from the bible that explained it all away. You know, something to the effect that basically no one should be able to predict the exact moment. He was the almighty, and he was going to come when we least expected it – that much I was sure of.

So yesterday, when the new predicted “Rapture” came I was busy at a 5 year old’s backyard birthday party in my neighborhood. There were about 20 kids and their parents, lots of cigars for the guys and plenty of alcoholic beverages, pizza, ice cream, cake and sweets. The Bruins game was on and the only thing anyone was waiting for was for them to score.

A little after 6pm one of the twenty something uncles of the birthday girl joked that we missed the rapture and that maybe we were in the wrong time zone because the world hadn’t ended. I bit my tongue and resisted correcting him lest I be thought of as a Holy Roller. But so many people had it wrong, it’s not meant to be the end of the world. It’s meant to be the day when the “saved” ascend and are reunited with Christ. Those left behind are doomed to face life on earth and suffer through Armageddon. I know, it’s not exactly a cheery topic for a kiddie birthday party that’s why I didn’t say anything. Thank God for blogs.

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