Time & Eternity
We have all the time we need.
I learned this from my lifelong friend, Michelle. Michelle—who has more plates spinning than anyone I know. And yet. Whenever she enters the Bible’s story…whenever she gathers the children to teach her lessons…first, she pauses. Then she breathes. And she always says this. “We have all the time we need…”
I’ve been thinking lately about end of life. Our parents are aging. Alzheimer’s. Broken bones. A heart condition. Teeth falling out.
My mom talks about her longing for heaven, then apologizes. “I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom.” But is she?
I think about Michelle, who recently lost her own dear mother, far too abruptly. And Kyle, who’s losing his dad in stages, slowly. Death is cruel, and aging, too. And is there ever, really, a gentle way?
But then, again. We have all the time we need.
We do, if we believe the eternal story.
I think about this, too. Eden. Creation. How He filled this world with His bountiful gifts. And we, image-bearers of our Creating God, were given all we’d need to flourish.
Did you know He barred the way to the eden-garden? This is how the story is told. A sword-bearing angel, protecting the humans, blocking the way to the tree of life. Lest they eat from the tree and live forever. God in His mercy, keeping all of us humans from the unspeakable horror of unending death.
But instead. In Jesus. He returns his gift of eternal life.
All of this lives in my imagination. Even here, even now, breathing this air of partial existence. I see in my mind, His eternal kingdom…
We live between these two worlds, don’t we? The one we see is filled with memories. The one that’s hidden is filled with life.
I wake early, and read again. A gospel story. Jesus asking:
Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? (Mark 8:17-18)
What is it I’m supposed to see?
Jesus talked of heaven as though it were here. Heaven and earth, coming together. God’s space and human’s intertwined. Jesus doesn’t just take us to heaven. He puts heaven in us for our sojourn on earth. As long as we breath this earthly air, our mission is to bring this heaven. Here.
And yet. Jesus talked of another time, and another space.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)
You know the way. Don’t you? Don’t we?
We know the way to bring heaven to earth. And we know the way to eternal heaven.
The way to both is Jesus.