Misunderstood Mayan calendars notwithstanding, it’s interesting to note that many cultures, ancient and modern, believe the world will eventually come to a dramatic end. Even Hollywood cranks out post-apocalyptic movies that are both stunning and disturbing in their plots and visual effects. The Bible itself is sprinkled with prophecies about the end of the world as we know it, long before R.E.M. made it popular in song.
We humans have this morbid fascination with trying to predict when the end will come. I don’t think God asks us to predict. Prepare, maybe, but not predict. For me, the efforts by some prognosticators to predict the end feels too much like living in fear. I’m not suggesting we don’t take prudent precautions against the possibility of natural and man-made calamity. After all, the world is a dangerous place.
I recently read a book in which the author made a poignant observation. He said the world is ending one person at a time. Perhaps that’s how believers should live: like our life as well as the lives of our loved ones, neighbors and friends are ending one person at a time. I think I can safely predict (sorry, could not help myself) that everyone will die, except for a relatively small number who experience the rapture . . . and even those folks might experience physical death in the rapture. Some people die, tragically, long before they should while others, enduring ruinous old aged, linger longer than they would like. Perhaps God’s heart breaks because we don’t love each other more intensely and share the news about Christ, knowing that the world is indeed ending by the millions, one person at a time.
Oh well, it looks like I’ll still have to pay taxes in 2013. (When the IRS is no more, then indeed the world is ending.)