Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

(Isaiah 65:17-21; John 4:43-54)

Younger Next Year is one of many books promising a longer, healthier life. Its principal idea is that a proper regime of diet and exercise decreases your “biological age” even as your “physical age” advances. Although a good mix of diet and exercise should grant almost anyone a longer life, the concept of “biological age” is, at best, subtle. One can hardly arrest the whole process of aging. Similarly, we have to think hard about what Isaiah means when he promises that there will be a time when dying at a hundred would seem a short life.

We should understand the prophet to be expressing himself poetically, not literally. That is, Isaiah is commenting upon one’s spiritual life, not physical life. He means to say that in the new creation we will maintain the glory of youth and the wisdom of the aged. Death will be of no concern for us because we will have encountered the source of eternal life.

It may be hard to believe, but the new creation has already begun. Jesus has conquered death even though its cold reality swamps us at times. Humans will be dying until Jesus comes as he promised, but physical death need not be the last utterances of a person’s existence. When we give ourselves over to him, we enter the new creation. He buoys our lives to float above the currents of sin that would destroy us. At death he will give us spiritual life in its fullness. No one can say exactly what this will be like except that it will be like Jesus’ own life. Meanwhile, we should feel younger just by giving ourselves over to him.