God has planted eternity in the human heart. – Ecclesiastes 3:11
One of the books I’m currently reading is The Purpose Driven Life. The 4th Chapter is titled Made to Last Forever. These are my thoughts/reflections on it . . .
God exists in timelessness (which is different from eternity – eternity lasts forever – timelessness is th absence of time). God’s own life (grace) is a part of us. So we long to be part of that timeless existence – we yearn and desire to shift ourselves into God’s time (kairos time). Individually and as a human family, we wait in joyful hope for the day when we will leave this imperfect and timebound world and move on to our final destination.
I like the sentence/idea of “living in light of eternity.” It moves and shifts our perception (there’s that word again!) from a selfish, self-centered worldview to one that is more inclusive of others; one that is other- and service-oriented.
However . . .
The author suggest that if this life was all there is, he would encourage people to “live it up.”
The post-modern in me vehemently disagrees. Going back to Richard Rorty (another book I’m reading irony, contingency, & solidarity), we can still choose to passionately live a life dedicated to ideals of love, service and sacrifice. Even if this life were all God gave us, we could still choose to live it in such a way that we made a difference here and now, as well as later on for our children and their children. Timeless suffering or joy is a good motivator, but ultimately we could still choose to follow Jesus, and have our “reward” be nothing more than knowing that we had lived a life of congruency.
Again, though, I agree with another quote: Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity. Our actions here do have eternal consequences. As a Catholic, one of the teachings of my church is that our actions here – our sins and our good deeds – will determine our final resting place – either we’re gonna be air-conditioned for all eternity, or we’re gonna fry. 🙂 We condition ourselves in this life to live the next – so if we persist in unforgiveness (both giving and receiving) we will forever shut the door to the One who is Forgiveness. Accordingly, if we practice forgiveness and loving-kindness here and now, we will be able to accept the forgiveness of the One.
I also think our actions have temporal consequences, consequences that we can feel here and now, though these mostly involve conscience and quality of interior living.
“All life is suffering” (to quote the Buddha), and part of that suffering flows from our “unright” actions. Even if there was no hell, this life could become a lifetime of hell, made so by our own actions, our own thoughts, our own conscience.
Until tomorrow . . .
Blessings & Peace,