Monday, December 10, 2007

Advent: Eternal life is not merely life after death, but life in the now

Advent is about time. It is about the beginning of a new year of grace, the gift of life, of supernatural life, which is the life humanity is created to lead, a life of communion, of community, a life together. It is about the end-of-time, about the Lord's having already been here and His coming again in glory. It is also about the end of time for us, a transition we call death. As Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Anglican bishop of Reading, England observes in his wonderful little book, Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop: "Time can also be the eternity of a single moment". A few sentences later he picks up this thread: Such a way of experiencing time brings the possibility of new delight and new joy in the people and things around us. It offers the possibility of opening yourself up to amazement, and for finding that the inner slob within you is really the little child you must become if you are to enter God's kingdom. So that on your deathbed you are not gagging for a few more moments, pleading with God for a reprieve, or angry with medicine for its failure to deliver immortality; rather you are at peace, dwelling in the final moment of chronological life, and welcoming the 'eternal now' it has been leading up to."

"When people say they are children of God, this is what they mean: living and enjoying life as a child in readiness for heaven, experiencing heaven now"
(59-60).

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