Saturday, March 25, 2006

just in case

Suddenly I realize I don’t have my purse. I’m in church and there are a whole slew of places it could be. My pace quickens and my mind whirls - where have I left it?

To make matters worse, now the service ends and people begin pouring from the exits. Frantically I retrace my steps, dodging around knots of them (‘Excuse me, excuse me please’), checking out washrooms, coat racks, going back to the pew where I sat, certain my purse is more gone by the minute, trying to remember exactly what I had in it and wondering how I’ll go about replacing all that I.D.

And then I wake up! Whew! It was a dream.

Shaky with relief, I give myself a little lecture. It’s about time I get down to doing what I resolved to do months ago and take inventory of all those cards I carry around with me. If this ever happens to me in real life I need to be more prepared.

There’s a lot of stuff we do, if we’re wise, to cover us ‘just in case’. In addition to keeping an up-to-date record of our I.D., we do regular backups of our computer files, pack boxes of supplies in case of earthquakes or storms, and have blankets, candles and chocolate with us in the car in the winter. We do all these things to cover us just in case something we have no assurance will ever happen, occurs.

But do we prepare for the one thing that is inevitable? Do we prepare for death? I’m talking here about going beyond buying life insurance, making a will and having a talk with a funeral company (although those things are a good start). I’m talking about getting prepared to spend life in eternity with God. And how does one do that?

First it’s recognizing and giving assent to God’s evaluation of me - that I’m born separated from Him by sin and need His help to re-establish a relationship with Him. I need to understand that He took the initiative to do that by sending Jesus, and that Jesus, by living a life free from sin, was qualified to take the punishment (death) my sin – all our sins – deserved. Now I simply trust in that (Jesus’ death for my sin) to be ‘born again’ as a child of God.

Then it’s living as a child of God lives. It starts now by finding out what pleases my Father, what are the rules and laws of His kingdom, the ‘kingdom of God.’ (We find these all through the teachings of Jesus and in some places in concentrated form like the Sermon on the Mount). And then it’s living by these rules and laws right now.

I don’t do this latter very well. Everything in my ‘real’ world argues against meekness, humility, love, generosity, turning the other cheek, not being anxious, not being focused on things etc. etc. But I believe that the more I make God’s kingdom my reality, the more ready I’ll be for death - the only event that is more than ‘just in case.’ And no, it’s not as simple a project as packing an earthquake box, buying a memory stick or going to Office Depot to photocopy all the cards in my purse!

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