What is the Christian’s telos? It is to love God, as He first loved us in Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul has written (as inspired by the Holy Spirit): ‘without love it all means nothing’ (my paraphrase). Who is love? According to the letter writer, John: ‘God is love.’ God is love because God is a triunity of persons in singular interpenetrative subject-in-being bliss. So, the Christian’s life is one that is shaped by the participatio Christi that Christ is for us in the resplendence of His eternal relationship with His Father by the Holy Spirit. The Christian has no existence apart from this reality of the fullness of God, as that has been made concrete for us in the skin and bone of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. The Christian’s life, because of this always already reality of triune love, is one of relational koinonia one with the other; and for the other. We have no being apart from God’s being for us; or being is first imaged for us in the imago Christi, who indeed, from glory to glory, has always already been the image of God for us. It is in the mirror of His election for us, that we might come to reflect His image to each other, in the churches, and to the pagans outwith the Church’s reality. We reflect this type of existence, one foreign to the way of the world, by abiding in Christ, the Vine of God for us. It is as we receive His sustenance, through Immanuel’s veins, through His life-giving blood, charged with the ineffable life of God, the indestructible life, that we have something to offer each other and this world. This love offering has been actualized for us, for the world, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the ascension of the Son of Man now seated at the Right Hand of the Father. The Church and the world, both, need to be confronted by this other-this-worldly reality as that is presented to them in the face of Jesus Christ.
This life is short. It is important to be focused on what lasts. I am impressed this way as I reflect on my dad’s recent passing, as I reflect on the terminal cancer I survived, as I see so many people losing their lives all around. Our mortality is in our faces every moment of everyday. We attempt to quarantine that reality as much as possible and cultivate lives of wantonness in its vacuum. But it’s better to live in reality and understand that we are constantly being given over to the death of Christ that His life might be made manifest through the mortal members of our bodies. In other words, the brevity of life, and surely this is a real brevity, ought to cause the person to focus on what ultimately matters and allow the details of God’s life of love to inform our daily moments as if but a vapor in comparison to His eternal life. We ought to focus on who God is as our Father, and from there live lives that have the purpose of God as its anchor.
I remember what it was like to wake up every morning and for a split second forget that I had an incurable/terminal cancer, and then the shock and horror of the reality would hit me all over again. I haven’t lost this perspective. It haunts me at levels. But the LORD uses this perspective, this inescapable reality that we are dying to remind me that I have life in and from His life; a life in Christ that has already passed from death to resurrection life, of which there is no end. And all of this hopeful purposeful reality is because God is Love.