The Life of the World to Come
Since ancient times, believers have summarized God's revelation about our present and future hope with the words of the Nicene Creed: "we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." I love that phrase - "the life of the world to come." It's a very pregnant phrase and beyond that, the pregnancy metaphor works well here. The expectant mother carries the baby inside of her; it grows inside her. She feels a close bond to her baby - she yearns for it to come. She wonders what the baby will look like. Will he have his father's eyes? Will she have that dimple that grandma had, that mommy has? (The possibilities are seemingly endless.)
Waiting. Longing. Wondering. Certainty. Anxiety. Hope.
All these things are an apt description of the expectant mother as she looks for the arrival of her baby. Likewise, we, the church-community, look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. It is coming, but we don't know when. It will be here, one day. Until that day, we are gripped with labor pains.
Six months ago today, my mother passed from this life to the next. Today, I can't help but think about the great hope and great joy of the life of the world to come. My mind is boggled by the thought of heaven. Paul tells the Ephesians that God can do more than all we ask or think. Han Solo spoke for me, when he said: "I can imagine an awful lot." Consequently, I find myself in the tension of expectation, and now more than ever, I find myself looking farther ahead than my shallow contemplation does. Come Lord Jesus! "Oh come, oh come Emmanuel."