Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life Until Death

In March, up until Easter Sunday, in the Christian liturgical calendar we’re in the season of Lent. The spiritual focus of Lent is a sober appraisal of our mortality. Our human nature is finite, not infinite. There is a time when we will not be, at least not in the form we are now. In traditional Christian theology that’s supposed to be a scary realization that knocks us into dependence on the mercy of God and the salvation act of Jesus dying on the cross.

More liberal Christians, and Unitarian Universalists don’t have to go there, either to fear or dependence. The fact that we will not exist eventually is certainly interesting but not necessarily frightening. There are many ways our finite natures limit us, most of which we don’t find scary. The fact that I can’t experience life beyond my death is no different from saying I can’t now experience someone else’s life. A disappointing truth, perhaps, but not scary.

And rather than give up in the face of death, the fact of our limited span should inspire us to really live while we live. We have only a few years to make meaning, to fulfill our purpose, to help move the world in the direction of holy ideals. Rather than give up for Lent, get busy.

And when Easter arrives we can celebrate not that death is overcome, it isn’t, and doesn’t need to be, but celebrate the life we have and enjoy while we have it.

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