I'm going to say this all wrong but I'm going to say it anyway.
Here goes ...
Everywhere I've gone over the last couple of days people have been talking, lightheartedly, about 'the rapture that wasn't' ... the big 'uh oh'. Someone tried to talk me into a kind of sympathy for those who gave up their life savings, their life pursuits, in the false belief that the world was going to end. Part of me, of course, felt a kind of sadness and sympathy for their ultimate disappointment.
'But wait,' says the bigger part of my brain, 'they're disappointed that they weren't selected to fly to heaven and all the rest of us in the world aren't writhing in pain and torment.' They actually expected earthquakes and disasters to wreak havoc on humanity, well on the part of humanity that didn't have membership in their little club. I have trouble with that. I have trouble with that whole idea. I have trouble with 'them' against 'us and God'.
When the concept of 'the rapture' was first explained to me, I understood it instantly. The idea of 'the chosen' and 'the left behind' is a constant in human history and a constant in my life. Anyone who endured high school knew that there were those that were raptured into smugness and all the rest of us who were uninvited, unwanted and unacceptable. There has always been a standard that allowed some to be selected and others to be shunned. 'The rapture' always seemed to me, not so much as to be a sense of being transported by noble emotions as it was to be a kind of self exultation of those with privilege.
As a young gay man, living with the terror of discovery. I saw the self satisfaction of heterosexual couples, who paraded their relationships, drew hearts over their 'i's, and branded overpasses with initials and kisses, and felt their assumption of normalcy, their arrogance in staking out and claiming love as acts of violence and intolerance Their rapturous proclamations of God's blessing and God's plan made their God a God of 'ynah, ynah, ynah' rather than a God of love. Oh, I know 'the rapture' exists, I know what it is to be left behind.
As a man with a disability who has had to fight off those who saw healing of body, not change of society, as God's will, I know what it's like to live a life considered 'unblessed'. I have turned down the 'laying on of hands' and the opportunity to confess the sin that crippled me - I have spurned offers of love that looked a lot more like hate. 'There but for the grace of God' is said in one breath, 'I'd rather be dead than in a wheelchair' is said in another. Um, yeah, thanks. Thanks for telling me that God graces you and damns me. Thanks for telling me that my life isn't worth living. Oh, I know 'the rapture' exists, I know what it is to be left behind.
So its hard for me to feel sorry for those who feel let down that they aren't having a milkshake in heaven while the rest of us are wallowing in sewage and waste here on earth. It's hard for me to crack open my heart, the one I'm told is sinful, the one I'm told is prideful, the one I'm told has crippled me - to feel anything much at all.
And yet, and YET, I believe. I believe in God who loves me. I believe in God who cares for us. I believe in He who walks beside me. I think I believe, because, when the dust settles, He and his ways, He and his love, He and the message of his life, were left behind too. I know this because I met Him, here, in the life I was given - and that, to me, is rapture.