The Fate of Holy Fools
The Desert Southwest (III): Preserving History

Tick, Tick, Tick (Part VI): Leaving Time Behind

Clip_image002_22 As I approach my own end, which cannot now be long delayed, I find Jesus' outrageous claim to be, himself, the resurrection and the life, ever more captivating and meaningful.  Quite often, waking in the night as the old do, and feeling myself to be half out of my body, so that it is a mere chance whether I go back into it to live through another day, or fully disengage and make off; hovering there between life and death, seeing our dear earth with its scents and sounds and colors, as I have known and loved them. . . . ; recalling the golden hours of human love and human work, at the same time vouchsafed a glimpse of what lies ahead, Eternity Rising in the distance, a great expanse of ineffable light --- so placed, I hear Jesus' words ring triumphantly through the universe, spanning my two existences, the one in Time drawing to a close and the one in Eternity at its glorious beginning. . . . Yet in the limbo between living and dying, as the night clocks tick remorselessly on, and the black sky implacably shows not one single streak or scratch of gray, I hear those words: I am the resurrection and the life, and feel myself to be carried along on a great tide of joy and peace. 

(Malcolm Muggeridge, "Impending Resurrection," from Jesus: The Man Who Lives)

Because death is an inescapable fact, for man, animal, plant, and even (you might say) for the inanimate (which will not endure in its present form), I have to keep reminding myself, as did Muggeridge, that death is but a new beginning, that I and the ones I love will live on, and even the earth itself will not pass into nonexistence but be reformed and renewed, the atoms themselves being rearranged without the virus of sin, with nary a discordant note to mar the great sound of Creation.  That'll be the day.

I hope I can be like Muggeridge, who, knowing that his body was wasting away, could live in the light of the new beginning of Eternity, when he could, finally, bid farewell to the bounds of time and finally be timeless.  I hope so.

Out walking in the desert today, life and death are all around me.  The caucus of a 200 year old saguaro cactus lies on the desert floor, dead.  It began its life shortly after the birth of this country, was there before the white man came, and now will rot slowly into the desert floor.  I visited the remains of the Freeman homestead, settled in the 1930s, now but just foundations, and them too slowly being worn down by wind and water.  Mr. Freeman is dead now, and not much remains in Time of his efforts.

Time moves on, and yet from God's perspective, its duration is so minuscule as to almost be meaningless, insignificant.  That's what amazes me.  He could be so much more vast than all of space and time, and yet He, the Creator, the Limitless, could become the Limited, the Eternal become Temporal, to free us from Time.  The "night clocks tick remorselessly on," but He has come, He is the resurrection and the Life, and the tick, tick, tick will end not with silence but with the Great Song of the Day, when all creation is free from Time.