‘Jesus is coming. Look busy,’ quips one bumper sticker. Folks in a California church have been warning the world to take it seriously, because he’s coming soon. Saturday, to be specific.

Surely you’ve heard of this. Rolling earthquakes will hit on Saturday evening across the globe, marking the beginning of the end of life as we know it. So says preacher Harold Camping and his group of followers is trying to warn the world.

“Mr. Camping saw God had placed, in scripture, many important signs and proofs. These proofs alert believers that May 21st of 2011 is the date Christ will return for His people and begin a period of the final destruction of the world.” All will be over on Oct. 21, “when God will completely destroy this earth and its surviving inhabitants,” the website says.

This isn’t the first time Camping has predicted the end of the world. He also targeted 1994 as a probable time, but on the website, Family Radio says, “important subsequent Biblical information was not yet known.”

This prediction has picked up a lot of press lately, especially this week. Eliot Spitzer’s crew put Camping ‘in the Arena’ on CNN’s blog.

Some people are having fun with it all.

While Harold Camping’s followers will be preparing for the end of the world this Saturday (May 21), non-believers across the United States are planning to have a little tongue-in-cheek fun by planning “Rapture parties” as a source of amusement.

When I first heard this, I thought of the people in Japan in those terrible videos of the moment the tsunami washed away countless homes and cars and the people in them, on an otherwise ordinary day when people were going about their business. And for them, that became their last day, the end of the world for them.

And I thought of the recent devastating tornadoes through America’s south, historic flooding, taking a terrible toll in human lives that were going about their business as usual until the sound of the freight train that accompanies a sudden tornado crashed into their complacency, and may have been the last sound they heard besfore their homes ripped apart.

And, oddly but maybe not….I had a sudden flashback of the time a couple of years ago when our family walked into a popular neighborhood restaurant and as we were being seated, I became aware of the lyrics of the song playing overhead:

If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change? …

How bad how good does it need to get?
How many losses how much regret?
What chain reaction
What cause and effect
Makes you turn around
Makes you try to explain
Makes you forgive and forget
Makes you change…

If you’d broken every rule and vow
And hard times come to bring you down
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change?

The truth we all know, that doesn’t merit headlines, is that any day could be our last day. No one knows, said even Christ in scriptures. Christians believe that when this life ends, we each face judgment and eternal life according to how we lived.

So while atheists and pop media are having fun with the doomsday predictions this weekend, I’m taking the opportunity to revisit some basics about how to live an examined life, a life well lived, of self-giving love and good intentions and charity towards ‘the least of these’  and reconciliation with others and with God.

I’m reading and reviewing Rapture, and interviewing the author on my radio show Friday.

Some have told me it’s a good thing I’m getting this in on Friday. I’m glad to get it in anytime. And I expect to start next week with some great interviews I’ve lined up, when Monday rolls around.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....