Sitting in my backyard today I am watching the wind cascade through the trees causing multicolored leaves to fall like rain to the ground. The back of our house is quite wooded so Actually they are a little more like heavy snowflakes than rain. The weather is not too cold yet so it makes for a great vision to sit outside on the WiFi and work from a rocking chair. In the winds of the fall it is so easy for me to think about the transient nature of life; we are all slowly passing into reality soon to be gone from the scene of the earth. Maybe I am just getting older...or maybe it has been the Lord of the Rings Trilogy that I have been watching again of late, but life feels a bit epic today.
The finality of falling leaves is but temporary as the stripped trees of winter will rise again green come spring. Yet life has an abrubt ending and each day ebbs us forward to this reckoning. As we have started to take the first steps of establishing Jacob's Well I am thinking much about the impact of my own life. Sometimes you feel like you are about to change the world, other days you realize your life doesn't count for much in the grand scheme of things. I think most everyone is realizing these days that life is more than the sum of one's 401(k). Well, maybe we are realizing that our lives had become little more than the sums of money sitting in some virtual account on a computer somewhere. Either way, life is moving, as do markets as does the foliage in Northeastern woodlands.
Long ago philosophers debated whether life was static in being (Parmenides) or was a ever flowing see of change which we are unable to place a finger on (Heraclitus). I think life and perception leads us at times to both conclusions rather than a certainty of fixedness or a chaos of never ending change. I have long thought about how God brings an unchanging constancy to our ever changing lives and world. Is it not a search for the beauty of truth, the order of the cosmos, the one lighthouse of purpose in the world by which we can gain our bearings. We are indeed passing like ships along a great shore, or like sand flowing in an ever changing river. Yet there is one who holds our lives and the changing world in existence and he even knows our very names.
Such a God is not the unmoved god of philosophy, but rather the kind and severe God of the cross of Jesus of Nazareth. He is fixed, unchanging...yet abounding in steadfast love. He is sovereign over time and history yet calls us to live among the falling leaves each day. I have found both joy and solace in seeking him. In calling out to him in trial, in questioning in pain and worshiping him in his strength and beauty.
Long ago, another sojourner of this path had something very relevant to say to us in our uncertain and changing times. These words of ancient wisdom press upon me today.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
So the man of the earth will soon pass into the shadows of eternity and the leaves will fall again next year. Yet as spring buds forth the tree into newness, there is the promise of one who brings life anew in the fullness of time.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
This is the most relevant question I know of for all mankind. Therein lies the key to an unfading, unchanging, unfailing hope. It is bound up in the changeless one who can have the living die so that the dead might rise again.