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Jesus came back on a Saturday night. Mike and I were sitting in his car after the prayer meeting, discussing the return of Christ, and had just observed that it could happen that very night. The remark had not been prompted by any singular event or sign. We said the same thing every Saturday night.

I was a new Christian at the time and had only recently learned about the return of Christ. My friends spoke of it as "the Rapture," a term that seemed more suited to a romance novel than to religion. The Rapture, they explained, was when Jesus would return to collect his church shortly before the Second Coming. They found this teaching in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians and in the mysterious Book of Revelation. I had read Revelation but had not been able to make much sense of it. I did not doubt its truth; I simply took it at face value.

Now, it seemed, the Rapture had arrived, just as Mike started to read a verse from his Bible. He was cut off midsentence by an unearthly howl that sounded like something from beyond the grave. It began soft and low, barely registering on our consciousness, but soon built to an eerie crescendo. Mike and I looked at each other in wide-eyed amazement. This could only be one thing: the "last trump," the shout of the archangel.

The eerie call continued to sound as Mike and I sat in his car and waited to be caught up into glory in the blink of an eye. I felt an initial wave of relief that I was fully clothed and that Jesus would find us talking about the Bible. That should look pretty good on my record, I thought. I suppose my panic might have returned had I realized that Jesus probably would consider this thought evidence of pride.

Mike began to pray. I followed suit, but with less confidence. ...

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September 2005

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