Letter from the Rector
The Promise of Resurrection
Everywhere that I have traveled recently, those signs seem to follow me. In San Diego they loomed over the Pacific Coast Highway. In New York City they greeted me on the A train. Whether at home on San Pablo Avenue or away on the long stretches of I-5 (where do these resources come from?), the voice of Harold Camping follows me. Because everywhere I go, and I’m guessing that I’m not alone in this, I encounter his pronouncement that “The Day of Judgment is coming near.” Saturday, May 21st, in fact, is the day before our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, is scheduled to make his regular visit.
This, of course has forced the staff at All Souls to answer that ultimate question, “How much does one need to prepare for an episcopal visitation when, ‘The Bible guarantees (the End of Time)’ will happen the day before?” To the relief of many, and not just our Bishop, we have gone ahead with the planning for the 10 am service that morning, with confirmations, receptions, etc. This does, however, raise a question, “What are we to do when confronted with proclamations of The Rapture?” Depending on which tradition of the Christian church you’ve been formed in, this question takes on different concerns. One friend distinctly remembers coming home to an unexpectedly empty house one afternoon in middle school and being sure that he had been, “left behind.” In the Episcopal Church, in our Eucharistic prayers we join with Christians for centuries upon centuries in proclaiming that, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” But when? And what should we be doing about it?
It wasn’t too long ago, in Advent, that we heard from Matthew 24, one of the texts that some look to in their prognostications. And in reading this passage, with its graphic signs of what will accompany the End, I can understand why some might see it close at hand. But it’s actually that very text, in verse 36, that reads, “But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be—not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows.” In this chapter and the next, Jesus goes on to talk about the importance of being prepared (in fact this is one of the sections that scared my friend as a teenager, about two farmers working in a field, one being taken, the other left behind), that is something that we as Christians should never lose sight of.
Even though the time and date are not ours to know, we are not to live in this world as if God didn’t care, and therefore as if our actions and intentions didn’t matter. The intent of this passage and others like it is to remind us of our responsibility of the promise of Resurrection in the here and now. We are still responsible for the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around us, our action and our inaction still carry consequences. Too often the promise of the Resurrection has been an excuse for neglect of the care of one another and the imminence of the End has served to remove the necessity of relieving the suffering that exists today. Regardless of when that final day is, we need to live as if it will be tomorrow, giving of ourselves for the reconciliation of the world.
So, assuming that you and I and Bishop Marc are still here on May 22nd (or at the very least are “left behind” together) please join us at All Souls Parish on Sunday, May 22nd at 10 am. Our Parish Choir, the Angel Band, James Tinsley, our children and youth—we’ll all be there’ prepared and waiting. Prepared, working and living in the hope of the Resurrection, waiting with the hope of the world to come.