Take Off Your Captain America Socks
Advent begins in darkness.
It always does for those of us north of the equator.
The days are increasingly shorter, and have been slowly becoming so over the last few months, though we never really seem to notice until the November-December hinge of the year. These days I wake up in the dark and leave work in the dark more often than not.
And Advent readings, too, begin in the dark. This year we'll be reading from the Gospel of Mark (my favorite Gospel), and the readings on Sunday continue this march through dark, apocalyptic texts that highlight beginnings and endings.
Before going on, why don't you read this Sunday's Gospel? You can
to do that...the rest might not make much sense unless you read it first.
So let's get the elephant out of the room before we begin: Lutherans do not affirm the idea of a "rapture." This theology that has totally infected Christendom is not an ancient idea, but a rather new one, fabricated (in my expert opinion) by a man named
John Nelson Darby
in the 1800's. He and his adherents, obviously in error, predicted the rapture would occur a few times...and yet, here we are.
I had a childhood friend recently write me for my opinion on the rapture. Apparently he has a friend at work who is constantly waiting for it. "What do you think about it?" he asked me. "It's junk theology," I responded. "Not worth thinking about."
Usually I'm much more measured in my words, but this particular theology has caused harm to our planet, anxiety to infect our children, and has made millions of dollars for profiteers who plague on the fearful. The only thing that should be "Left Behind" is that sort of theology (and the fiction books aren't even well-written!).
And here's the thing: someone, in every era of time, has made the claim that we are in "the last days."
And they're absolutely right in some respects: time, culture, civilization, is absolutely in continual flux. The way of being that we were used to in previous generations is coming to an end; we are in the last days of what has been.
And they're absolutely wrong in most other respects: time continues on.