Who are you? What’s your purpose? How will you end up? Knowing the answers to these questions helps you live a good, meaningful life. Knowing the answers and living them spares you misery and brings you blessings regardless of what comes your way: Good/bad. Happy/sad. Whatever.
Ecclesiastes names these times. We’ve experienced those states. Epicureans say life is short, so live it up and be happy. Buddhists say life is change, so detach from things and avoid suffering. Nihilism says that nothing matters — and neither do you. We mostly don’t think about these approaches to life because we’re too busy with life. But New Year’s reminds us that time flies. Life is short. So, we reflect on our lives. Some. We make resolutions, which we mostly don’t keep. Eventually, we move on. But these questions remain. All of us must answer them. Our life is our answer.
So, here’s a cheat sheet to pass the test, which we are all taking, so that you don’t just exist, but really live. The questions can baffle us, but these answers will bless us.
Who are you? You’re a child of God. What’s your purpose? You were created to receive and reflect God’s goodness and love; to glorify God and enjoy God perfectly forever. Now, here’s the hard part: We’re an Easter people in a Good Friday world. Although creation is good, it’s not perfect. We aren’t either. So, God gathered a people; gave us the law; and sent prophets to guide us into what is good and true.
But despite all that heavenly help, we still humanly couldn’t get it right. So, God did an inside job to make it right for us. God entered history as a human being; in the God-Man Jesus. He was born, lived, healed, blessed, suffered, died, and was resurrected to reverse the curse. He became like us so we could become like him — and share his love with all.
Christ gathered us as the Church and gave us the Holy Spirit to share his Way, Truth, and Life with the world. In the fullness of time, Christ will come to finish God’s Genesis work by making us all a New Creation. All that is unworthy of God will be cleansed. All that is loved by God will be completed. That arriving kingdom is among us right now: When we share, forgive, bless, and love, Christ is with us, including us in the Life that is so good it never ends.
Today is the worst day of somebody’s life. A child has died. A dream has perished. A hope has ended. Today is the best day of somebody’s life: A child is born. A dream is coming true. A hope is being realized. All of us have had a best day and a worst day. There are 7 billion, different days happening now.
Like Russian nesting dolls where the smallest is contained within the largest, all of our days are encompassed within the Ancient of Days. Our being is upheld by the Being of all beings, who we simply, finally call God. All our time is part of God’s eternity. All of humanity is gathered by grace into the love of Jesus Christ, who has us covered: All our days, sins, best times, worst nightmares — all covered with Christ’s grace and love, which makes all things new.
He has done it all. All we need do is live accordingly with humility, thanksgiving, and love. And when we suffer, we never suffer alone because the Crucified and Risen One who suffered for us is the One who also suffers with us. His Presence shall heal us. His Power shall resurrect us.
There’s great pain, confusion, and harm out there (pointing beyond the Sanctuary). But we can have greater peace, clarity, and healing in here (pointing to the heart). Whatever the moment is; whatever the future holds, know that God holds you this day, every day, for all time. You’ve been freed from sin and death in order to extend blessings, establish justice, and share love. Do that, remembering that you belong forever to the Good Shepherd, who is with you now and who shall see you home.