April 2017

"I AM alive for evermore"

(Revelation 1.18 NEB)

Somebody wrote to me: "As I contemplate the Word of I AM, he comes alive in me." This is bound to be the case because the Word is life. In contemplation, we receive his Word. It inevitably colours our attitude. It changes everything we are and everything we do. In Saint Paul's words, we "put on the Lord Jesus Christ", assimilating both his crucified and resurrected life.

At the first Easter, the disciples were frightened by their Master's appearances. Their fear turned to joy, a joy that remained unbreakable even when they were subjected to ruthless and appalling persecution. The Gospel of Saint John presents a Christ who frequently speaks on the subject of death and eternal life. A clear distinction is drawn between the death which must come to all forms of earthly life, and the life which is eternal. We are able to enter and possess eternal life now. We can do this as we come to believe in him: "He who puts his faith in the Son has hold of eternal life . . . Anyone who gives heed to what I say and puts his trust in him who sent me has hold of eternal life . . .The believer possesses eternal life . . . If a man has faith in me, even though he die, he shall come to life" (John 3.35; 5.24; 6.47; 11.25).

'Crucifixion', whether it comes through illness, bereavement, material loss or in any other way, becomes bearable because of the hope of eternal life with Christ. We find, as we contemplate his Words, that we come to share his risen Easter life. Even the language of "terminal illness and death" loses its chilling grip. We are able to begin now to live in the realm of eternal life. Even more important, God enables us to help others to enter that realm, especially by means of contemplative intercession.