We all have a host of core beliefs, cherished perspectives, and chiseled morals that guide us through the decisions of each hour and steer us through the demands of our days. Yet, too often these compasses and assorted maps are less the product of deep contemplation, and more the manifestation of what we’ve simply picked up along the way. We tend to randomly borrow what outwardly looks appealing, appears relatively easy, has worked for our friends, sufficiently fits into some vogue philosophy that we have found to be a bit fascinating, readily trends within the chosen social circles that we frequent, won’t be bothersome to our career pursuits, and feels kind of warm to the touch.
The tangled busyness of life and the incessant demands of plodding through a single day often compel us to rely on these often unknown compasses and maps in a manner more akin to being on autopilot than living thoughtfully and with great caution. We simply accept them for whatever they may be, and we respond to them with little thought as to what exactly we’re responding to.
Living for an End
It seems that the secular underpinnings of our culture would have us borrow the belief that nothing exists beyond this life. The emerging constructs of our culture seem to have propagated a belief that eternity is a by-product of fearful minds that need some sort of security blanket because of their inability to cope with the difficult realities involved in living out this life. Eternity is too often written off to misty-eyed novelists and secluded theologians who have to develop a caricature of some fairytale life because they can’t find sufficient joy in this one. Too often the colorful renderings of eternity are frequently ascribed to the ancients who embraced a terribly impoverished view of reality and had to craft mystical explanations for life. And in time, this thinking rubs off in ways that we may not recognize.
Rebelling Against an End
And because these beliefs rub off, could it be that our lives are defined by a battle we don’t even recognize? Could it be that we valiantly construct marvelous edifices and conquer seemingly impossible heights out of some desire to irrevocably declare that they will never fall to the end that we are told all things fall to? Do we live glorifying the essence of youth and taking wildly disproportionate steps to preserve it as a declaration against this cultural sense that it will all end anyway? Is it possible that we raise up our hero’s and celebrate the enormity of their victories as a declaration that with sufficient determination all can be overcome. Are our lives defined by a rebellion against an end and we don’t even realize it?
Living for a Beginning
I would staunchly propose that rather than living with an end in mind, we should be living with a beginning in sight. We should not be living out our lives rebelling against some sort of end. Rather, we should be living out our lives celebrating a beginning. We should not be rebelling against an end that we fear. Instead, we should be reveling in a beginning that we can’t wait to start. I would much rather have my life be relentlessly driven by a beginning rather than constantly bullied by an end. I would much prefer the perpetual excitement of limitlessness over the repeated fatalities borne of limits.
The Beginning of Easter
Easter embodies these passions. Easter is the declaration that ends exist only for those who fear the relentless adventure of beginnings. Easter declares that ends are challenges that exist for the single and sole purpose of being put behind us so that what’s yet to come now has ample room to present itself in front of us. Easter unequivocally states that an end is only a beginning in disguise even though the appearance of permanence of the current ending might convince us otherwise.
Easter declares that the limits to which we’ve succumb and the mediocrity that has become our imprisoning bedfellow are choices, not realities. We do not have to believe that the accumulated horrors of our world somehow suggest that the only merciful conclusion to it all would be a decisive end. The message of Easter is that the greater the end the more magnificent the beginning that follows it. Easter proclaims that all of existence is being held for a ‘forever’ within which the whole of this existence will be recast to stunning perfection. In fact, Easter declares that beginnings are so central to all of existence that impossible beginnings are the everyday stuff of our ever eternal God.
And so, as we approach this Easter season we might ask if an end or a beginning drives our lives, for the answer could be the beginning of entirely unexpected beginnings.
April 03, 2015