Saturday, May 12, 2018

This Life Is Meant to Be a Kingdom, Not Just a Cross

A belief in the afterlife can have negative effects. Some people seem to disengage from this life, banking on a promised post-mortal future to bring peace and happiness. They don't enjoy this life or attempt to make a real difference in the lives of others, because they don't see this life as anything more than a temporary test. Many of these people are instantly recognizable in church because they speak about "the world" as being an outside entity against which they are pitted in battle for their very souls. These are people clinging, white-knuckled, to the tightrope of life just inching along from one side to the other. They see the platform on the far side of the rope and that is all they see. Mortally afraid of falling, they never risk loosening their grip, and if they do slip, even a little, they are nearly paralyzed by fear that they will never reach the safety of the platform. Theirs is a constricting life. 
This view of heaven, as an escape, is a miserable degradation of what the Gospel actually teaches. The gospel is Kingdom and Cross. In other words, it isn't just about salvation from eternal hell (Cross) but about building a life now that's worth living forever (Kingdom). We are supposed to be fashioning a new garden in this lone and dreary waste. It's the sweat of our brow and the struggle to bring new life to this place that we are charged with. In this kind of gospel-centered life, the walk across the tightrope becomes a divine dance through the air. The platform on the other side, just like the platform from which we stepped out into the spotlight, is not a goal to be reached by the timid but an anchor whose existence is essential in creating the space where the most brilliant performances play out. 
This is not to suggest that I don't believe in post-mortal existence. I do. But I don't believe it's an "after" life.
It's just life.
The continuation of our divine dance.

No comments: