I Wish We’d All Been Ready

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine on Facebook mentioned that she had talked with someone about Jesus. During the conversation an old song was brought up. The song was “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by Larry Norman. The song was released in 1969. It became a hit among Christian evangelicals who were becoming caught up in what might be called “rapturemania.” Films like “A Thief in the Night” produced by Donald W. Thompson and a book by Hal Lindsey entitled “The Late Great Planet Earth” became popular during this time.

I  was a freshman in High School when I read Lindsey’s book. At that time, I was what later became known as a ‘seeker.’ I was searching for my identity and finding the idea of Jesus and the Christian faith a viable option. Lindsey seemed to be able to unlock secrets in the Bible and link them to the condition of the world at that time. This “revelation” made the Bible something other than an ancient document written by a bunch of dead people. It made it alive and relevant. To a 15 year old kid Lindsey’s book was transforming.

The reason I mention this is because the imagery of Biblical language, like that found in the books of Daniel and Revelation touches people at a deep, emotional level. It’s not like the legal and history-like language that makes up much of the Scripture. This type of literature, called apocalyptic, is full of exciting images of beasts and fire. There is cosmic warfare and people who loom larger than life. All of this can touch people at a visceral level like no other genre of literature can. When someone like Lindsey comes along and links these images to current reality, people sit up and listen. We ask, “Can this really be true?” We then may answer ‘Yes.’ At that point we are drawn into something that is larger than we are. Something with Earth changing potential. And, it’s still a secret to everyone else. It’s a secret that we’re privy to. And, that adds to the allure of these things.

So, what exactly am I talking about?

I’m talking about how the concept of the ‘end times’ as explained by Norman, Lindsey, and others like Tim LaHaye and John Hagee have turned people’s hearts and minds to something that at best is an errant theology. And, at worst a heresy that has the potential of destroying people’s lives.

I hope to explain some of this in this post and subsequent ones by showing where these ideas came from, why it is misleading, and why it is so very toxic to people and to the Church.

First, let me share the lyrics to Norman’s song. This song is a snippet of what many in the Evangelical church believe as ‘rapture theology.’

“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by Larry Norman
Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,
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.

A man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise and turns her head, he’s gone,
I wish we’d all be ready,
Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one’s left standing still,
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.

Life was filled with guns and war,
And everyone got trampled on the floor,
I wish we’d all been ready,
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold,
I wish we’d all been ready,

There’s no time to change your mind,
How could you have been so blind,
The Father spoke, the demons dined,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
Larry Norman, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”, 1969, Capitol Records, Prod. Hal Yoergler

The words are a poetic take on a portion of the Bible found in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. These images are part of Jesus’ discourse with his disciples about something Jesus had just said to them. They were leaving the Temple in Jerusalem after Jesus had pretty much dismissed the religious leaders as a bunch of self-seeking men who took advantage of people in order to look good themselves, (and improve their own image).

Jesus began by stating that the Temple was going to be completely destroyed. He said, “There will most certainly not be one stone upon another left here that will not be torn down.” Then the writer recorded a long litany of things and events that would happen before the Temple’s ultimate destruction.

These things and others will be the topic of future posts.

So, stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “I Wish We’d All Been Ready

  1. Almost seems like yesterday Mike except for you being a 15 year old kid! I am looking forward to your next “installment” and pray the Holy Spirit will direct your heart and mind on this very important topic.

    • Thank you for commenting!
      I really didn’t think that this was a big deal until I started seeing a lot of chatter on social media. There’s even a twitter hashtag, #raptureanxiety.
      It seems that many people have opinions. Many of those are, let’s say, a tad misguided. So, I thought that I’d stir the pot a bit.
      Glad to have you along for the ride!

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