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Thursday, May 19, 2011

World Will End For You & Me – Just Not on 5/21/2011


So it seems that the world is going to end this coming Saturday. That’s if you subscribe to the point of view of 89-year old Internet pastor Harold Camping – a serial doomsday prognosticator who’s made a living of sorts out of this type of thing.

This particular prediction of Camping’s has struck me with a cold bit of irony this week because my wife’s grandmother – Trudy Smith – died two days ago. We’re all grieving and supporting each other regarding the loss of a loved one and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks ahead.

However, in light of that familial revelation the thought of the world ending takes a different shade of meaning. Without intending to be crass or uncaring, the world as we know it has indeed ended for Trudy Smith.  The two interesting takeaways are that it didn’t occur on Saturday May 21st and the same “world ending” that befell Trudy awaits me, you and everyone else.

As the proverb states, “What is man but a passing vapor or shifting shadow.”

The world will ultimately end for all of us – but it’s not likely to happen this Saturday.

So go ahead and enjoy that cookout or picnic this weekend, the trip to the zoo or the kids’ soccer game. But ask yourself if you’d be ready if your world did end today.

If you don’t have an answer to that question, the simple answer is that you’re not ready. As poet John Donne famously wrote,

"Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that….
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No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

If you don’t know where to start looking for an answer, why not try a church or synagogue near you this weekend? It can’t hurt and you’ve got nothing to lose.

Who knows, you may even gain eternity once the world ends for you – and whether you have a faith or not, that ending is a certainty. 

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