Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
TITLE: Mama and the Rapture
By Kathryn Presley
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My mother was always “outspoken,” but after her car wreck and coma, she carried that to extremes. It seemed the accident had destroyed those "brakes" one acquires during a lifetime of social interaction. She came to resemble the mythic Cassandra, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, condemned always to speak the truth to antagonistic mortals. When a cousin brought his second wife to meet us, Mama said she liked the first one better. When a sister-in-law wore garish Easter finery, Mama told her to dress her age. Some folks took it with good humor; others were offended and our visitors slacked off a bit after Papa died.
Mama had strong opinions, particularly about religion. She knew folks other than Baptists might get to Heaven, but felt we were going first class. You could always get a sermonette from her on “closed communion” or the mode of baptism (immersion of course), but what really engaged her was “the Second Coming.” Mama was a premillenniallist, who looked forward to the “blessed Hope,” the imminent return of our Lord. She carefully studied the DAILY OKLAHOMAN to learn about events in the Middle East. No Jewish mother was more excited than my Scots Irish mama when Israel regained her homeland. Premillennialists yearned for a restoration of Israel to their ancient land as a prelude to the Rapture. ("Remember, Kathryn Jane, when the fig tree [Israel] blossoms, `look up for your redemption draweth nigh!'") Alas, I was more interested in boys than the Rapture.
Mama disliked Amilllennialists who tended to spiritualize all prophecies and didn't believe in a literal Rapture. But we didn't see many Amillennialists in our part of rural Oklahoma. As for post-millenniallists, those strange birds who thought the world would just get better and better until the Millennium came, Mama had only contempt for them. More than one pastoral candidate, not solidly premillennial in his thinking, “bit the dust” when Mama was on the pulpit committee. During the months before her wreck, a retired preacher “filled the pulpit" out at Wild Horse Creek. Brother Will was charming, but Mama couldn't quite get a hold on his "millennial" leanings.
Preacher and flock were supportive during her long recovery. It was a glorious day when Papa pushed her wheelchair down the aisle of their little church and sat near the front with Mama receiving an outpouring of affection. There was hardly a dry eye in the building during the song service. They sang “Victory in Jesus,” then brother Will began to preach about “end times.” He said we can’t be certain of the sequence of events and should not make our view a "condition for fellowship." Mama's scrambled brain couldn't take in everything he said, but she knew he was not following the Scofield line. Bouncing around in her chair, her small red face showed more emotion than she had displayed since the coma.
Papa sat staring as one might stare at a cobra before it strikes. Then, as she opened her mouth, he "snapped to,” wheeling her back up the long aisle toward the door. Fumbling with her wheelchair, he had her nearly out to safety before she raised her tiny fist and wailed: "Brother Will, you'd not a dared to preach that sermon if I'd a been at myself."
Confident she’d be raptured, my mother never expected to die. We buried her beside my father on a windswept prairie. Their tombstone reads, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
I never hear about turmoil in the Middle East without remembering Mama’s “Blessed Hope.” Sometimes, I scan the Eastern skies and wonder if this could be the day our Lord returns? And, I can't help believing my parents will be among the saints who attend Him when He comes.
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