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You only have about a week to set your affairs in order. Judgment Day is at hand. After more than 2,000 years of waiting, the Lord is coming back to gather up his faithful.

According to Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio network, the Rapture or Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur on May 21. You may want to pencil it in.

Most Christian-based faiths have some kind of end-game message about what will eventually happen to the world. All of them promise bad times for the wicked. Meanwhile, the righteous (whoever they are) will be snatched straight to Glory.

The rest of us (especially me) will be left behind. We may wander about confused by the sudden absence of loved ones, but more likely our guts will boil, our teeth explode and our brains broil in our skulls. Our very flesh will hang in…

OK, enough. If the sky catches on fire next week, and you're one of those people eagerly awaiting the burning of the wicked, odds are you'll be one of them.

My own prediction — keeping in mind that I'm wrong a lot — is that you should plan on mowing the lawn anyway. Next Saturday will be just another regular day of mortality for most of us, including Camping's followers.

I grew up in an apocalyptic faith, raised on claims that we were living in the last days. One of my LDS mission companions was convinced that the time was so close we probably wouldn't even finish our missions.

Karpas believed this because his grandfather reportedly once got a church blessing that told him he would be alive when the Savior came again — and his grandpa was already old.

Him: "So, it could happen today."

Me: "We're eating lunch early then. I'm not going to hell hungry."

My lack of reverence for his event planning made Karpas mad. We fought and he got transferred to another village. If the Second Coming happened in Mono Infermo, I never heard about it.

That was nearly 40 years ago. Today, Karpas and I are both grandfathers. More to the point, his grandfather is dead as Julius Caesar and, near as I can tell, we're still waiting.

Although most everyone admits that the exact time of the Lord's return is unknowable, that doesn't stop them from trying to second guess the Second Coming. They base this on all sorts of ecclesiastical counsel, signs of the time, but mainly their own anxiety.

If it sounds like I don't believe in any form of rapture/Second Coming/apocalypse, you'd be wrong. I do. I think every single person gets one.

It's called death, and the end times start the instant we are born. The clock ticks steadily toward our very own personal up-close Second Coming.

With few exceptions, you never know how much time you have left before the sky rolls back and your life is over. It's happened exactly like that for everyone who has ever lived so far. Odds are that it will happen to you as well.

I have no idea what will happen next Saturday beyond the list of things my wife wants me to do. "If I watch the sky less and myself and my loved ones more, maybe I won't miss what's really important."

Robert Kirby can be reached at or —

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