People get ready. Jesus is comin’. Soon we’ll be going home. People get ready. Jesus is comin’ to take from the world His own.
– Crystal Lewis “People Get Ready, Jesus is Comin'” (a popular Christian song)
Welcome, welcome, fellow slouchers! You get a two for one deal on posts this week! In today’s post, we’ll be discussing the age old question…
What exactly is Rapture Practice?
Hopefully everyone reading this knows what the Rapture is by now (or else I must have some very confused readers on my hands), but, just in case you don’t, I’ll extrapolate briefly. The Rapture is the moment when Jesus returns to earth and carries all true Christians, body and soul, up to heaven to experience eternal bliss. There is some division on how exactly this will happen, and even more division on who exactly qualifies as a true Christian, but that is the general gist. Also, contrary to what Harold Camping says, the general consensus is that nobody knows when this is going to happen. Hence you must always be ready.
The question is, how do you ‘get ready’ for the Rapture? I mean, it’s an event that could happen unannounced–“in the twinkling of an eye” as many dispensationalists are fond of saying–and, other than the initial conversion, being Raptured is completely out of your control. So how on earth do you practice for it?
Luckily, a nice man named Jesus of Nazareth had some suggestions:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic…” (NAB Luke 7:27-29)
Ok, on second thought, that stuff seems kind of hard. Maybe there’s an easier way.
Ah, here we go. Here’s another suggestion brought to us by Professor Kelly Baker in her article “Getting Rapture Ready.”
Several semesters ago, one of my students, ‘Ann’, asked me if I had ever heard of ‘Rapture practice’. I had not. She explained that at her summer Bible camp, her teachers encouraged all the students to jump high in the air to practice for the Rapture. The jumping, she explained, helped God pluck the bodies from the air. I asked if one could not be raptured while on the ground. Ann pointed out that jumping made it easier for the Rapture to occur.
And so well then. That’s a thing. That people do.
Actually, Baker has written a thought-provoking and sensitive article in which she makes some great points about how the physical acting out of the Rapture allows people to emotionally connect with the event. But we are not that deep here, I’m afraid. And though I’d love to provide a link for the more intellectually minded among you, it’s a subscription-based article, so all I can do is link to the abstract.
So I’ll just let that fact sink in for a minute before we move on: people habitually bounce up and down in order to practice for the Rapture. Because the act of bouncing up and down makes it easier for God to schwoop them up. Also, cat pictures. Is this blog not awesome?
Now here’s the thing I love about Rapture Practice, which pushes it over the edge of awesome in my opinion. “Practice” means, basically, doing something over and over in order to get better at it. So it follows that, by definition, more Rapture practice will make you better at being Raptured. That’s … unusual. Cool, but unusual. And not just in the way you’re thinking.
Traditionally in Christianity (depending on denomination), salvation is based on faith in God and only faith in God. “Salvation by faith, not by works,” is something I always heard in school, and what that means is that there’s nothing you can do to save yourself or increase your chances of getting saved. Granted, acting a certain way can serve as evidence that you are among the saved. But once you’ve been saved and accepted said salvation, you shouldn’t be able to do anything to make yourself … more … saveable. And yet, somehow, despite that belief, we have Rapture Practice–a physical, material thing that you can do, something wholly unrelated to your spiritual well-being, that will get you to heaven more easily.
I find that fascinating. This leaves room for some great speculation, and that’s where the fun really begins. (What do you mean I’m a nerd? I don’t know what you’re talking about.) If you can get better at being Raptured by the physical act of jumping up and down, that must mean the Rapture follows some sort of physical rules, right? What are these rules? And, more importantly, how can one use them to achieve maximum Raptureage?
For example, are NBA players more likely to be Raptured than the rest of us because they spend more time in the air? Or is it not dependent on how much time you spend in the air but whether or not you happen to be in the air at the exact moment that the Rapture occurs? In that case, if you happen to be in a plane/rocket ship/hot air balloon that’s already halfway to space, does that automatically make you more Raptureable? (This might explain the unusually high number of airline pilots who were raptured in Left Behind. They weren’t actually Christians; they were just easy targets.)
What about if people live on the moon where the gravity is weaker? Will they be Raptured faster than those of us down on earth? That would make sense. After all, if finding us in mid-jump makes it easy for God to pluck us out of the air, then finding us in mid-jump with minimal gravity holding us down must make it even easier.
Hardcore Rapture enthusiasts might want to adjust their strategies according to these new theories. If you’re striving to get yourself Raptured in a timely manner, it would be prudent to stop jumping up and down on your own and start collaborating to build a moon colony (Note: include lots of basketball courts). If my theory is correct, you’ll be among the first to be Raptured! If my theory is incorrect, or if the Rapture never happens, you still got to LIVE ON THE MOON! Win for everyone!!
The less hardcore Rapture adherents can still find ways to make the rules of Rapture Practice work in their favor. Just think about it. Say Betty Lu down the street is disgustingly pious, praying every night before bed, donating to charity, and baking pies for the church luncheon every Sunday. Meanwhile, you spend your days listening to rock n roll music and reading “Origin of the Species.” But you know for a fact that Betty Lu only jumps up and down twice per day, while you jump up and down ten times! After a couple of years of practice, you’re going to be way better at being Raptured than Betty Lu. Then guess who’s more likely to be schwooped up to heaven as one of the 144,000 elite?!* That’s right–you are. Suck it, Betty Lu!
That’s it for my speculations about the rules surrounding Rapture Practice, but I hope you’ll do some of your own speculating in the comments! In the meantime, please enjoy this 53 second video of Extreme Rapture Practice! (It’s from GodTube, so WordPress wouldn’t let me embed it, but I promise you won’t regret taking the time to click the link!)
Til next time!
*I haven’t come across anything yet that says the 144,000 marked elite are the only ones who will be Raptured, but I think someone should write this version.