In my dreams I can fly.
I usually start out flapping my arms, just skimming the ground and then I catch the wind and swoop up through the trees and then I usually get tangled in the power lines…
It’s my favorite dream, especially when I avoid the entanglement part and make it up, up and away.
Some people say that if God intended us to fly he would have given us wings.
The earliest recorded Christian writing says otherwise. The sky is our destiny. We hear from that earliest Christian memory and writing today, Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
A letter of hope beyond reason in the face of death and grief and disappointment.
Some early American revival traditions spoke of this chapter as the Rapture, combining it with some other unrelated passages of scripture, creating an event where the good guys are scooped up and the bad guys are left behind.
That reading usually trivializes God’s judgment with self-righteousness and misses out on the intention of Paul’s writing.
But rapture is a good word, we are held in rapt attention, our hope is filled with rapture, a delight beyond expression.
The Resurrection, the return of Jesus, the judgment, the restoration, the renewal of creation. That is what Paul is writing about. Do not lose hope. God is setting creation right again in the resurrection of Jesus, which we share in, which elevates our souls and bodies.
We begin today a short apocalyptic season, the last three Sundays of the Christian year and the first Sunday of the next year when Advent begins. Four Sundays that have the full weight of time and timeliness, the passing of time, the ending of time, the fulfillment of time. A season of unveiling the purpose and goal of all that is.
We hear today of hope, the hope that flies. We hear of waiting, of being ready, of being awake and attentive, of being prepared. We hear of the wise who are ready and the foolish that are not.
There is an infection of seriousness that has infested this world, this country and the faith of many believers. Satan fell by force of his own gravity, by taking himself so seriously, he was very grave.
The Gospel brings levity to the world, elevation, soaring flight, resurrection, ascension, it is what Paul calls being informed by hope, a hope that is stronger than death.
Do not be uninformed. That is Paul’s warning. Don’t fall for the stupidity of gravity and self-seriousness.
When the world offers up terror, fear, opportunism, and predation, the Gospel brings hope, rapture, love, and freedom.
Beware the self-indulgence of the fearful, the angry, the violent and those who profit from their depravity.
Do not be uninformed, bring hope, rapture, love, and freedom. Bring levity.
Be the opposite of a terrorist with their terrorism.
Be Rapturists, with rapturism.
Be wise, forsake foolishness. Learn to fly.