I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3 NRSV)

The scene is a church camp in Illinois with about 100 kids and various counselors. Jim, the camp director, and Frank, the maintenance director, are away from the camp on business. The next day they return to camp to find everyone gone. Everyone. Gone. There are no campers or counselors anywhere. Empty kayaks float out on the camp lake. An electric typewriter is left on. In it is a sheet of paper. It looks like someone has stopped typing in mid-sentence. But the strangest thing is the clothes. Everywhere they look there are small piles of clothes. It looks as if the wearers of the clothes have evaporated into thin air, leaving their apparel behind them.

Jim and Frank don't know what to think. Though neither of them will say it, the word "rapture" is going through their minds. (Rapture is a term used by many Christians to refer to the time of Christ's return when believers will be taken immediately to Heaven.) Then, out from the woods comes a lone camper, a junior-high boy who has not yet made a commitment to Christ. Now Frank and Jim are worried. If the rapture has occurred, then it would make sense that this boy is still around. To calm their fears, they call Jim's wife. Her secretary reports, in puzzled tones, that she had been in the office just a moment ago, but is no longer there. Now the men are concerned.

After a half hour of intense searching of the camp, from somewhere comes the sound of a bell, and at that sound, kids come pouring out of the woods. Soon, Frank and Jim are surrounded by elated junior-high campers. It turns out that two of the camp counselors had planned this whole thing to trick Frank and Jim. They had set up the camp to make it look like everyone had suddenly disappeared. Then all the campers hid around the camp and waited for Frank and Jim to return. It was all a trick, but it was one Frank and Jim would always remember.

When Christ comes will we be ready?

Loving God, through the business of my life help me to truly be ready for Christ's return. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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