Friday, May 21, 2010

Life Abundant

""The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10, New Revised Standard Version.)

Here we are in the final week of the Easter season in the church year. Last week we observed Ascension Day, Jesus' post-resurrection departure from this earthly sphere to rule the cosmos alongside God. This Sunday we mark Pentecost, when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, birthing and empowering the community of Jesus' followers for faithful life in this world.

Because of Jesus' resurrection, ascension, and gift of the Spirit, in a true sense we live in the season of Easter all year round, year after year. It isn't just for "spring." Jesus came -- lived, died, was raised -- that we might have life, life abundant, now and always.

To be honest, though, I don't actually feel that way all year round, year after year. I don't consciously experience Easter life all week or even all day, at least not that often. Spiritual faults, physical ills -- in me and in the larger world -- degrade and even war against life. The kingdom of God is here, to be sure, where people follow Jesus in faith, hope, and love. However, the whole of the cosmos, the whole of life, are not yet fully and finally transformed into that kingdom, both within and around me.

Still, I do feel, I do experience Easter life, life abundant, in moments and places, and even in stretches of time and space! When and where? What kinds of times, what kinds of places, what kinds of experiences pulse, quietly or vibrantly, with life abundant? When do I feel truly alive? What gives me a glimpse or an actual experience of the wondrous fullness of life Jesus came to birth and empower within us and within the entire cosmos? At times and in places when writing, exploring nature and history, photographing, and connecting with people, for example, I experience the instantiation of Easter life; and these are to be treasured and multiplied in the progressive transformation of all life in the kingdom of God's son.