“Whoever believes has eternal life.”
“Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”
I ran this morning. Well, I jogged for 60 seconds and then walked for 90 alternately for about 20 minutes with a 5 minute walk on either side. It is part of a program called Couch-to-5K, which slowly eases the fat slob (i.e., me) off the couch and in 9 weeks, supposedly, will have that person able to run 5 kilometers (~3.1 miles) without stopping.
I feel pretty good on the days I run, some soreness in my legs and back has me ruing 11 years of 12 ounce curls, but generally, though I feel physically tired, I’m more energized exercising than I have in years. Still, I don’t want to feel this way forever. I, like most others, look forward to the day when I won’t have to run to stay in shape. When the only activity I’ll have to take part in will be basking in the love of God. The great by and by is, most certainly, I nice perk that comes with faith in the risen Lord. But it is not the goal of the Christian life. It cannot be a goal because
Eternal life starts now.
As the bread of life discourse continues in John 6, Jesus tells the now unruly crowd, “I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life” (NLT). Eternal life isn’t a cloud and a harp on the last day, but the chance to live in the Kingdom of God starting right now.
What does the Kingdom of God look like here on earth? Our lessons for Sunday give us some clues: the Kingdom of God is like a lonely prophet, scared to death, who, in the depths of his depression, is fed by the hands of angels; the Kingdom of God is like the psalmist, who, having cried out to God in affliction, has tasted and seen that the Lord is good and can do nothing else but bless the Lord at all times; the Kingdom of God is the chance to live into Paul’s call the church in Ephesus to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you;” or to paraphrase Ireneaus, the Kingdom of God is a human being fully alive.
What are you waiting for? You only live once. Live fully. Live abundantly. Live eternally. And do it right now.