Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, December 9, 2010
Death is the golden key that
opens the palace of eternity.
John Milton, English poet,
born on this date, 1608
I’m very very glad that I wasn’t born in John Milton’s time or context! So dreary! Dreary religion especially, and it comes across (at least to me) in his poem “Paradise Lost”. I’ve tried to read it several times. Dreary! I can appreciate the skill of the poetry. I can appreciate Milton’s human struggle. But the religious mindset …..Dreary!
Theologically, “Death” is not a moment in sequential Earthly time. Theologically, Death is the adjustment to the reality of mortality, by which we then become free to live.
In general, American Christianity (and it is not alone) does not “get” this. American Christianity has been co-opted by the culture which says that “we can live and be young forever”. It’s a bill of goods we’ve been sold by the purveyors of delusion on which so much of American religion and culture is based.
“Eternity” has little to do with “Pie in the Sky when you Die”. Not as I understand the Gospel. “Eternity” is the inner state of Freedom to Live. The more Reality we can embrace, the more robust that state. I have a lovely friend of 50 who has battled serious cancer. She is, at the moment, “cancer free”. But she recently said that she chooses to indentify as a “person living with cancer”. (I can relate; I am the same.) And I know her well enough that I understand she has chosen the Freedom to Live. She has chosen Eternity. Each of her days has become filled with the whole possibility that resides in the Mystery we call God, Life.
There is a Golden Key. It is anyone’s for the asking.