Four Hundred Texts on Love (Second Century) 25

93. Death in the true sense is separation from God, and ‘the sting of death is sin’  (1 Cor. 15:56). Adam, who received the sting, became at the same time an exile from the tree of life, from paradise and from God (cf. Gen. 3); and this was necessarily followed by the body’s death. Life, in the true sense, is He who said, ‘I am the life’ (John 11:25), and who, having entered into death, led back to life him who had died.

Frederica Mathewes-Green recounts an event in her conversion when she heard Jesus tell her that he was her life — the other paths she was pursuing were not her life. I’ve never experienced anything quite as dramatic — though admittedly my life has been such that perhaps I’m not the best judge of what qualifies as drama — but the journey of my life has been marked by encounters, events, and experiences that are hard to explain in ways other than God’s active love for me. If Jesus is truly our life, then whatever we might find along other paths and from other sources is not ultimately life.

When I try to explore the reasons I remain Christian, this is probably close to the center. I feel at times somewhat like the disciples in John 6. Where else are we going to go, Lord? You have the words of life.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I could ever leave Jesus. I just simply don’t know where else I would go. Good thoughts, Scott.

  2. Posted August 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    In my case, I would pretty much have to go back to someplace I’ve already been. Those options I ruled out as completely unsuited to me would remain so. That pretty much leaves some of the alternatives like Taoism, Buddhism, or Hinduism for me. But though it can be hard to hear in the cacophony of modern Christianity, the story of love, resurrection, and the God who becomes sarx remains one of the best stories I’ve found about the nature of reality and what it means to be human.

    Perhaps because of the perspective of my own experience, I’ve never read the disciples in John 6 as making some sort of grand proclamation of faith. I think they were as troubled by Jesus’ teaching as everyone else who left. To me, that makes their “Where else are we going to go?” even more remarkable.

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