"Homeward Bound"    [ 08 ]   
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May 2016
This is eternity      •      We're in it now      •      Right Now
 

This life here on earth is nothing more than a ' blip ' in view of ETERNITY, as represented by that tiny narrow slice above (far left). All of time ~ or more precisely, Timelessness ~ stretches on eternally. This life here on earth is only the starting block in our existence, really nothing more than a passing vapor as the Bible describes it:

 
What is your life? You are but a mist that
appears for a little while and then vanishes.
—  James 4:14   
 
   
  All people are like grass,
  and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall...
  —  1 Peter 1:24   

Grass is, by its very nature, temporary: “here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire” (Matthew 6:30 and Luke 12:28). That little empty sliver you may have noticed above, that tiny empty gap between this life and WHAT IS TO COME represents the insanely brief time (comparatively speaking) we might ever be separated from loved ones who pass on before us. From our extremely limited, preschool-sandbox perspective here on earth, death is viewed as a tragedy, a heart-breaking lapse that steals away friends and family for the rest of our lives. — absolutely —

But only while we're here.

— Only during this brief span of years we have left on earth. And that's it. Ever. We * WILL * see them again, know them all even better than at any time while sharing our time here on earth, and enjoy rich fellowship for all eternity! The temporary separation death brings is only that: TEMPORARY for every Christian believer. Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead as a foreshadow of God's promise to every one of His followers. The REAL LIFE truly begins only after we're done with this sloppy start! Pastor John Piper referenced this in a life-changing message some years ago when touching on what is ironically referred to as the 'afterlife':

The greatness of the joy of this experience is beyond all imagination. That's what
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:7-9, “We speak God's wisdom . . . which He predestined
before the ages to our glory. . . . ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the
heart of man conceived, God has prepared for those who love him.’”
Jesus Himself spoke plainly about this:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told
  you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare
  a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also
  may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—  John 13:1-4    

Earthly power, wealth, and acclaim are as * NOTHING * when compared to what awaits us! No gilded home or elaborately landscaped property can compare to what awaits us after this messy stint. A child of 5 years cannot realistically comprehend the reality that, given time and proper opportunities, he or she will likely grow up to be a great grandparent someday. So goes this promise directly from GOD, our Creator. It simply eludes our finite conception, yet is more certain than your next breath! (Think about it: God cannot lie ~ Whatever He says, is.)

 "Homeward Bound" [DVD]
    Simon & Garfunkel — [ ROLLOVER ]
 Simon & Garfunkel

There is no way to graphically represent eternity while locked within the confines of our dimension. My rudimentary attempt above seems, at best, vaguely TRON-like, but I find the exercise immensely beneficial in helping to prioritize my remaining time 'on location' as it were. And after our work here is accomplished, we get to go Home!  :-)  It is assured: for real, for Good, and for EVER. ~ Goin to our real home: the one guaranteed Safe Haven which cannot be compromised, which is filled with genuine Love and Security, Comfort and Community deeper than anything ever known in this limited life. Virtually every legend and story celebrates this deepest longing, perpetually echoed in poetry, movies, plays and songs. I think of Simon and Garfunkel's late 60's haunting melody "Homeward Bound" in studio (1966), then 15 years later LIVE (1981), and the struggles conveyed in everything from kids' movies to The Odyssey . . . We long to come Home after a long, arduous journey to be at rest with those whom we cherish most, and who love us in return. No hassles, no worries, no pressures... It's All Good! ~ Will that ever be nice...

Some people spend their entire lives and all of their resources trying to create for themselves their dearest, most secure vision of Home. All such efforts are futile. To quote Pastor John Ortberg: "When the Game's Over, It All Goes Back in the Box". Billy Graham is quoted as saying, "Don't envy a man's achievements any more than flowers on a grave." He also said, "The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith." ◄ THAT is how we need to be spending our time here, obviously while engaged in service to others in the name of the Lord (this includes and rightly should start with one's family). I could not agree more with Reverend Graham. It seems insane (but all too easy without an eternal perspective) to expend one's entire earthly life on material trappings and accumulating worldly wealth, which is all so transient and likely lasting for a few scant years at best, and most likely only acquired in the twilight years of one's life. Don't you think it is much better to invest in something that will last ETERNALLY? Something that is incomprehensibly more REAL than the facade which currently hangs MATRIX-like over our senses now..? (This calls for FAITH, naturally, but that's a different topic altogether) Consider that Jesus said:

“Everyone who has left [or lost] houses or brothers or sisters or father or
  mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred
  times as much and will inherit eternal life.”      —  Matthew 19:29

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,
  and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
  where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”      —  Matthew 6:19-21

Scriptures throughout the Bible shine a consistent and steady light on this truth, but my main point in writing today is to emphasize the surety of our Homecoming. So I crafted that graphic to help keep the brevity of this life in mind, which calls into focus the purpose(s) for which we were created, and how/why we ought to be spending our brief start-time here on earth. Not to score 'brownie points' with God Almighty —( as if )— or in some way 'earn' our way to heaven, but because He has already causally redeemed anyone who has called upon His name for eternal salvation! (Jesus said, “It is finished” as His last act on the cross for a reason) We carry out the Great Commission and seek to live out the Golden Rule not to earn favor with God, but from a place of confirmed relationship with Our Creator! What better message could there be to pass along during this little whiff of a life?

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