Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who is that Masked Man?

When I was a child I regularly attended the movies on Saturdays - that is, when there wasn't a game to play or watch. Like all boys my age, oaters were my favorites. These were classic Westerns that had archetypal good guys and bad guys. You could always tell the bad guys by the background music and the color of their clothes. The hero likewise could always be identified by his white horse and white hat.

So it is with the greatest oater of all time - the Book of Revelation. (Remember how it started with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse?) In the second half of chapter 19, the Lone Ranger finally arrives on the scene to save the day. A white horse appears, and on the horse is a Rider whose name is Faithful and True. Three guesses who this guy is! Right, this is the long awaited return of Christ. He enters on stage to save the day with his cavalry on their white horses right behind him.

The long awaited Battle of Armageddon is actually anti-climactic. In one sentence the battle is over, the villain and his minions are defeated, and the victory celebration begins. This is the highly anticipated hope of evangelical Christians.

Last Sunday we celebrated the Lord's Supper at our little Baptist church. The pastor closed the service with the traditional words of the apostle Paul, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." Then he added his own heartfelt addendum: "Lord Jesus, come quickly!" This is the true spirit of Revelation. The Bible ends with these words.

I am enough of an evangelical to have my heart stirred by such words. I feel uncomfortable in time. I yearn for eternity. This human role that I am playing in time and space is already old. I have had enough glimpses behind the curtain to know that this world is a stage and we are all players, as the Bard said.

I have read the script. I know how the story ends. I am impatient for the Director to wrap up the show, so I can set aside my persona and enjoy the cast party. Lord Jesus, please come quickly!

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