I am sure I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t shocked to wake up Sunday morning. The much touted, slightly feared end of life as we know it proved to be yet one more colossal blunder for well meaning, if somewhat mistaken, people of my faith. I wish I could say that this was the first and last time that people who call themselves Christians will ever get things wrong, but I am sure that we all really know better.
Harold Camping claimed that he had figured out one of the greatest mysteries of the Bible. He showed how, through a complex series of math problems, he had been able to pinpoint the precise day that the end would occur. Obviously, he was wrong, and his greatly publicized attempt to save us from ourselves has caused many Christians to flinch in shame and embarrassment.
Now, I am sure that many of us would like to act like none of this had ever happened. Forget about it and move on to the next big religious scandal, but I hate to think that such a great opportunity might be wasted. There is so much to learn here, and with all the money spent perpetuating this mistake shouldn’t some part of it be redeemed?
Rev. Camping made the same mistake that so many Christians make in our faith. He just happened to be a bit more public than most of us have the chance to be. His mistake was simple – he overcomplicated it.
What the Bible teaches us about when the world will end is simple. Only God knows the hour. The wording is not vague; there are no passages that remotely complicate it, and the translation from the Greek is simple. I am sure that there are a lot of us who are sitting around patting ourselves on the back for not getting sucked into the hype, but the truth is most of us are guilty of doing the same thing.
Sure few of us name a day and time for the world to end, but how many of us make this thing called Christianity so much more difficult than it has to be? Jesus himself said his yoke was easy and his burden was light, but somehow our faith has become cumbersome and overwhelming. We have these rules that dominate our lives. Rules about dress and speech, who to be friends with, when to go to a specific building to sing a certain song, against tattoos, and for WWJD bracelets.
I know that this isn’t too popular to say in Christian circles, but we need to lighten up. Jesus said that we need to love the Lord with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves. How much easier does it get?
Is all that other stuff bad? Not necessarily, but if all we are doing is following the rules, instead of following our Lord, we’ve missed the point of our faith. Some of us need to know how to express our love for God by having some guidelines, but some of us need to set a few aside for awhile so we can see the one we serve.
We need to learn from Camping’s example, and stop over-complicating things. For starters, it’s way too much work, costs far too much money, and will eventually make us look foolish; but loving people always makes us and our God look good.