Beginning. Middle. End.
That’s always the order. Of course.
BEGINNINGS: Well, babies. New ventures. First day of school. So often full of hope. Excitement! Anticipation! Dreams! Though probably mixed with anxiety. Awkwardness. Trepidation.
THE MIDDLE: Well, everything’s that’s not the beginning or the end. It covers a lot of ground. Ups. Downs. Sideways. The same old thing day after day. Surprises. Strategies. Accomplishments. Setbacks. Worries. Temptations. Growth. Losses. Gains. Being stuck.
The middle is where it all happens.
THE END: There’s only one of those. Finally.
Beginning. Middle. End. Not always welcome. But always predictably in that order.
EXCEPT…when they aren’t. Which is the Easter disruption.
The resurrection of one Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t quibble about whether the end–death–is real. But it DOES utterly dispute any conviction that the end–death–is ultimate.
And that means we’ve had the order wrong. Tragically wrong.
It’s actually: MIDDLE. END. BEGINNING.
Can you even? Think about it. If you dare to. It messes with your head.
To expect beyond the end. Beyond our powers. Beyond our knowledge. Beyond our screw-ups. Beyond the love we’ve known so far. To lean into radical love.
What would life look like, if we lived assuming MIDDLE…END…
In this life? In this world that seems to be digging itself deeper and deeper into the painful, less humane dimensions of existence?
Those who believe in the immortality of the soul believe life after death is as natural a function as digestion after a meal. The Bible instead speaks of resurrection. It is entirely unnatural. [We] do not do on living beyond the grave because that’s how [we] are made. Rather, [we] go to [our] grave as dead as a doornail and [are] given [our] life again by God (i.e., resurrection) just as [we] were given it by God in the first place, because that is the way God is made.*
MIDDLE. END. BEGINNING.