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8/10/2006

My Mom Missed the Rapture


As I mentioned, Johnny is teaching on New Testament prophecy Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings at our Church this month. He will present each "end-time" view in fairness, but my husband is a staunch Post-Millennalist. Reaping the benefits of marriage to a gifted teacher I, too, am a Postie novice. This is very exciting as Pre-Mil views were shoved down my throat during four years at a now defunct Christian high school. Mrs. Jennings drank daily cans of Tab while cheerfully scaring me to death with the Rapture Chart. We had to fill in the blanks weekly and received tests regularly. I think we also had to re-enact the chart physically by marching around the room, but that may have been for the Bible, not the Rapture. I do remember cheesy 70's-era movies wherein unsuspecting hippies vanished. Since I was raised Baptist, Pre-Mil is the only eschatological view I knew. I'm not making fun of Baptists, but the scare tactics used by some Pre-Mils (the lunatic fringe) does give me concern. My Baptist Mom granted me permission to share one of my favorite tales of her life which will illustrate my concern, not for my Mom, but for bad teaching.

This is a true story.

Newlyweds Jim and Julie lived in an old house in Pecos, TX. Their abode resembled the Alamo, and though Julie was a proud Texan, her description of the house was not a compliment. One evening she was reading in bed while in the living room, her husband attempted to record "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" from the Godspell LP to an eight track tape for his car. The song kicked off with resounding trumpets which Jim was unable to capture just right, so he started the song over and over in order to attune his ear to the music.

During the first round of trumpets, Julie was using the restroom facility and with exasperation thought to herself, Great timing! The Rapture is upon us and I am peeing! With more foresight she could have secured a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for fastest use of toilet paper, but 'twas not her destiny. Julie called out to Jim, but she heard no response. Panic ensued after the second call of trumpets, still no answer from Jim, an otherwise silent house, and Julie had yet to fly away.

Jim did not hear his darling wife screaming, "Strother!"* because the music was turned up to the highest notch. He also donned oversized headphones which although were improperly connected pouring music into the house, they did seal off most outside sound. Now Julie was really in a tizzy. She proceeded to recite every Scripture verse in her memory, the Plan of Salvation, and the Four Spiritual Laws. During this recital she also jumped off the toilet (lid closed) and the side of the bath tub in an effort to help God launch her into the clouds. She sang "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art." She cried out for God's mercy since He obviously shunned her for living in Pecos. A Dallas native, Julie humbly understood she never should have left Highland Park and the most upper-class city in Texas. She continued to cry and pray for twenty minutes, but it seemed like eternity. Resigning to the fact she would not fly away into Glory, she assessed her current situation. She locked the door, set her teeth, and planned to dwell in the bathroom 'til Armageddon.

Julie took a mental inventory of the bathroom: toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo, make-up, and water. Pretty good despite the hideous decor of the room. However, she felt sure all of Jim's ex-girlfriends and their mothers would still be in town which was not reassuring. She felt lonely realizing all her friends were in Heaven. And she could literally hear her Mom now, "You shouldn't have talked so much in Church!" On a more positive note, Julie surmised that with no food in the bathroom, she would definitely lose weight and be skinny for seven years.

The only verse of Revelation she recalled was "They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia." Oh great - no map! Is there a winepress in Pecos? Do I hear horses approaching? How far is a stadia? Julie then felt God had called her to missionary outreach towards the lost during the seven years of tribulation; this made perfect sense remembering her surrender to special service when but nine years old. But Pecos and the Tribulation?!

She cried and perspired, but in a moment of courage decided she must leave the bathroom for fresh air (it was very hot, but not hot as hell). And, she needed her Bible because obviously she had missed key points of countless sermons. Julie also decided it would be comforting to have her pillows, a few dresses, her pink shoes, asthma inhaler, and maybe cookies. These necessary items of survival would be lovely until the viscous blood flooded the Alamo and crazed horses broke through the kitschy walls.

With the confidence of a missionary to cannibals, Julie hesitantly opened the door. Peeking out with wobbly knees, she saw Jim's legs! She yelled his name as loudly as her asthmatic lungs would allow, but still no answer. She charged and saw Jim sweetly singing to himself, ears protected by big Dumbo earphones. Julie crumbled, pummeled and hit her husband, half scaring him to death. After a moment of hysteria and more tears, she took a deep breath and informed Jim they were left behind. "Remember the song 'I Wish We'd All Been Ready?' There's no time to change your mind, the Son has come, and you've been left behind." To Julie's horror he laughed! She informed him of the horses and rivers of blood, but he continued to double over in laughter.

Jim played the trumpet blast for his wife, and by the way, "How much blood does it take to flood West Texas?" He finally quit laughing only to call their Sunday school teacher, his brother, and friends. Word spread fast around the quaint town of Pecos. Trumpets blasted 'round the city for weeks. Julie received notecards saying, "Be ready to meet Jesus!" She received requests to teach Revelation. Some kind soul offered her a horse, and even a blood drive was started in her name.

What is Julie's favorite hymn today? "I'll Fly Away."

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).....



*From the first day they met, she thought he looked like a Scotty, so she used his last name. This was fine by Jim since he was a coach, and most coaches rarely use first names.

4 comments:

Allison said...

I posted a comment a minute ago but it seems to have vanished. Hmmmn, apropos.

I bet many of us who grew up in the Bible Belt have our own versions of such panic. I remember coming home from school one day to discover water boiling on the stove, a lit cigarette fuming in the ashtray and an eerily quiet house. After calling out for my mother and getting no response, I anxiously fled outside to examine the homes of neighbors I knew were "saved". I finally found Betty at home and was able to relax knowing the Rapture could not have just occurred because I could rest assured that Betty, as opposed to myself, would never have been "left behind."

Jenni's Mom said...

Precious Jenni,

You made me sound so biblically intellectual by quoting an entire verse from a superior translation and adding the word, "stadia." It sounds so much better than "the blood will be so deep, the horses will have blood up their nostrils." Thanks!!

matthew hopkins said...

I think I remember your mother telling me this story! That has to be one of the funniest things I have read in a long while. I have these mental images of your mom in the "alamo house" bathroom just doing what she does best being her.
Talk to you soon, tell your mom I said hello.

Jenni said...

My Mom left me a voice mail today in which she played one version of the trumpets from Godspell's "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" featuring a shofar. Then she sang over and over "This is musical culture!"

I do love my Mom.