May 21st, 2011

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Just in case you haven’t heard the good news, today’s the end of the world. According to Harold Camping, prophet, every last contractor has installed every last granite countertop – in every last kitchen – in every last mansion in heaven, and today at 6 PM (your time), all the believers are going to be whisked up to heaven to be with their Lord and saviour and claim their real estate. (Everyone gets a crown too which, I have to admit, is not a fashion accessory I’ve ever imagined wearing – or wanting – and I have to wonder if we’re not all going to feel just a bit stupid wandering around with crowns on. One guy with a crown I can understand – a million crowns starts to look like a themed costume party.) Anyway, some people believe that no man knoweth the day or the hour, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that Harold Camping, to quote Angus Podgorny, is “nae so much a man as… a blancmange”. Or possibly a fruitcake. Plus the Bible doesn’t say anything about women not knowing the day or the hour, and this seems like just the kind of thing a woman would know. Supper, garbage day, Dancing With the Stars, the exact right moment you should apologize to her – if a woman knows the day and/or the hour of these relatively trivial matters, I’m sure she knows the day and time of Christ’s return. And lots of women seem to be convinced that Jesus is coming back to Earth tomorrow, as is evidenced by the fact that chocolate sales have risen 85% in recent weeks. Female believers everywhere are happily stuffing themselves like there’s no tomorrow, knowing that their new, cellulite-free celestial body are ready and waiting for them, presumably in cold-storage containers somewhere in the industrial section of the heavenly realm.

All this sounds great if you’re an unbeliever – at the sound of the trumpet you either fall unconscious (according to Camping anyway, and really this doesn’t sound so terrible) or you get to stay here and, after a bit of geological upset, continue with that great life you’re having until Armageddon, when you and the rest of Earth’s inhabitants will battle Satan and, I’ve no doubt, beat the bastard once and for all. I mean, there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t beat him – we’ve got nuclear weapons now for Pete’s sake, literally billions of potential combatants, not to mention armies of teenagers who’ve been playing shoot-em-up video games for a generation. Have you seen these kids? Seriously, my 13-year-old son alone could stare down the devil and make him dance. Satan doesn’t stand a chance against the young people of today.

However, if you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart, you’ve got to prepare for a somewhat hairier immediate future. Note the above Bible verse that says all the believers will be caught up with Him in the clouds – and it occurs to me now, at the eleventh hour, that a rapture is really something a person ought to train for. I’m sorry, but you can’t expect to whip a middle-aged woman up to the clouds and not have her thrashing and kicking and screaming bloody murder – something like Fay Wray caught in King Kong’s mighty grip. A woman like me is not going to go quietly. I mean, at what velocity does a believer travel through the biosphere? To me, “caught up” doesn’t sound like a gentle walking pace. Plus I’m terrified of heights. What do you think my reaction’s going to be when I feel the underside of my feet tickled by the leaves on the tops of the trees? When I’m zooming past the tops of skyscrapers am I going to yell “Hallelujah!” or “Holy #&%$*@$ #%&*!”? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, and I just hope that choir of angels will drown us out because there’re going to be millions of people screaming obscenities at the top of their lungs and passing out and losing control of their bladders from sheer terror. And I think that’s one of my biggest fears – losing bladder control. I mean, I get that tingly, oh-oh feeling by the second floor going up in a glass elevator – imagine what it’ll be like when I’m dangling there a hundred feet above the ground and zooming up to the clouds. You think I’m not going to lose it? Oh, I’m going to lose it all right. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Then there’s the big question of where a person ought to be when Jesus descends in His glory. I just really hope I’m outside, because when Christ returns and I’m taken up to meet Him in the clouds, if I’m indoors I’ll only be taken up as far as the ceiling (wham!) and then I’ll have to crawl upside down across the stipple to get out of my house – but how will I open the door from up there at that angle? I’ll have to get my husband or one of the kids to open it (there’s no way those three heathens are going to be taken up, trust me – especially not my kids because a) they’ve been raised wrong and b) have you seen the state of their rooms? Oh no, they’re not going anywhere until those rooms are cleaned…) but if no one’s home at rapture time I might miss the whole damned thing. How frustrating to hear the trumpet sounding and the dead being raised and there I’ll be, plastered spread-eagled to the ceiling, with angels singing somewhere above me, and my cat hissing somewhere below me. I suppose I might manage to break a window and get out that way, but then I’ll probably be late and, halfway up to space, the rapture will end and I’ll plummet back to Earth like a stone.

Anyway, Believers, it’s a nice day for it, so make sure you’re outside or, if you must be indoors, leave a window open – and don’t forget to wear that parachute. Oh, and ladies – remember to wear pants. You don’t want any of those sick-minded infidels staring up your dress as you ascend into space. That’s one of the reasons they got left behind in the first place. Oh and all you Left-behinders – could you remind my kids to feed the cat? Thanks!

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