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Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Echoing of Eternity


In the past month, two notable pop culture icons passed away. The first was Leonard Nimoy, famous for his acting portrayal of Spock in Star Trek. The second, early this morning, was the fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett. Both men left a huge impact behind on people's lives with their creativity and spirit (though I am not aware as to where either men stand in a relationship with God).

There's also a sadder story of someone who left an impact on people's lives. You may have heard about the teenager who left to the middle east to join Islamic State and ended up (from reports) being used as a car bomber. He too left an impact - albeit a horrific one - one that I have been thinking and questioning about. My question roughly being one that puzzles over how anyone could be so lost as to destroy themselves for a cause. For me to be radical for God is to live a life of true happiness and joy - not of hatred that leads me to kill...

On the radio this morning as I drove home, someone mentioned the phrase 'echo in eternity' which instantly reminded me of the famous quote from Gladiator: "What we do in life echoes in eternity." Why I referred to two men who have become popular figures, or a boy who destroyed himself mistakenly, in this context should become rather apparent. I am indicating lives which have their own echoes in eternity. 

Now some Christians look at things like alcohol, partying and films or literature as a waste of time. They might ask me why I would add to the celebration of lives famous for films and books. My answer would be this: that all lives are worth celebrating, because all lives are created by God and should be for God. The ability of an actor to bring joy to someone's life is a great thing and so to is the ability of the author - though they might seem trivial perhaps in the one small moment they touch someone's life positively they might bring that person closer to God. You never know, after all God created our talents to reflect His glory. The problem is that often people use such talents and lives selfishly - ignoring the great fact that this life is but an echo in eternity.

As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." This is my encouragement for you today - a kind of memento mori (a remembrance of your mortality) but not in a sobering way, in a way that encourages you to bring joy to the world around you. Be the echo of eternity in someone's life: use your gifts to bring positivity and joy to the people around you. I want my writing and communication gifts to be used in Church in anyway sure, but I also want them used everywhere - much as I want to be everywhere I am needed - to glorify God.

Thinking about the fact that this life is not even a mere scratch on the whole concept of all time that has ever been and will be - let alone eternity - can be hugely daunting. It can leave you thinking and questioning what kind of difference you can make. Well as David Mitchell wrote in Cloud Atlas:
"He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain & his family must pay it along with him! & only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!" Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

It is a quote I love because it points out that life is full of little meaning, pain and hopelessness - that is if you live your life not serving God. It further hints at the fact that you can make a difference as part of a whole group of people together making that difference. Alone you might not feel like you are making a real echo in eternity - but you are never alone if you have the Creator of the universe listening to you. If you live to glorify Him, if you seek Him first, then you become more than just an echo: you become a pleasing cry in His ear - a cry of worship!