Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Living With The End In Mind

Honing in on the subject of death, our personal death, is, for so many, a terrifically morbid or horribly stupid subject that seems such a waste of time. Why focus on death when there’s so much life to live? “We’ll be dead soon enough,” some might say. And that’s just the point—it comes to so many much sooner than they realise; like suddenly.

The blessedness of Christ-belief is the hope we have in and for eternity, and not simply that, but also to understand the truth: we’re destined to die once.

Perhaps we might reflect, for one moment, the truth that death can come silently, without warning:

“In the morning consider that you may not live till evening, and when evening comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn.”

~Thomas √° Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (1380-1471)

Being prepared for one’s death is the greatest single task of life.

The Rhetoric Of The Present

We read and hear so much suggesting we must stay in the present, enjoy the present moment, and appreciate the gift of the present. “The present” has become rhetoric and, as such, has lost its meaning. The term “the present” has become like the word “focus” and the phrase “emotional intelligence”; they become clich√©.

So much value is lost from the powerful truth when we devalue the concept because we overuse a word. Our humanity doesn’t appreciate it—as if the heart and soul has been stripped from what we describe, and we’re found out as imposters propagating a noble thing for selfish ends.

Appreciating the present, because it’s all we have prior to our imminent deaths, is the stark truth; a truth so stark a lifetime of rumination could not make it any less significant. One moment there’s life, the next it’s snuffed out.

Coming Face To Face With The Saviour

Christ comes, at the end of the age, certainly, but never more so than to claim our lives from us and redeem us back unto him in death.

For a Christian there could hardly be a more salubrious thought—finally to meet Jesus. For all the life we’ve had, having known life only from a physical realm context, with all its pains and concrete realities, the new reality is never more different.

Once we’re there—face to face with Jesus—there’s no turning back, no space for regrets, and focus only for worship. In a flash we’ll know a judgment that ushers truth for all the things we did right and all the things we did wrong; all the time we used to good effect and all the time we wasted. The correct context and meaning for all life situations we met will be understood. All consummation will occur.

Living life with the end in mind is reconfiguring our focus for truth in the light of the things we can change now. While we can, we make amends. While we can, we say and do the things we need to. While we can, we plan and execute from the perspective of ‘the end game’. There’s nothing more important.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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