Here I sit in a study room at the Kent State library working on a paper on ecclesiology (the study of the church). Yet as I read, reflect, think, and write, my thoughts are repeatedly assaulted by something else, something more powerful. Something deeper. A struggle, really.
Ends. Everything ends. Jobs. Relationships. Our childhood. Our innocence. Dreams. Aspirations. Love. Life.
Why? I remember thinking that when my dog Frosty died when I was younger. Why do things end? Why does nothing escape the grip of death and cessation? The depth of that inner cry is no less powerful today than it was when my dad and I dug a hole in the frozen winter ground to bury Frosty on that sad day years ago. Sometimes I think it’s deeper today. I’ve seen more. Been exposed to more ends. My restlessness grows stronger as I see more and more things end.
Is there a remedy? Is there a story I can somehow enter into where there are no more ends? No beginning. No end. Something that just is and always will be.
I stumbled upon this quote in one of the books I am reading for this paper: “The God who had walked in the garden in the cool of the day will once again dwell in our midst.” There is a story- a reality, really- that I can enter into. One where there are no more ends. Where everything is forever. Where the tears of a young boy over the makeshift grave of his dead dog, as silly as it is, will be no more. Where love and relationships will have no end. Pain no more. Suffering no more. Tears no more. Oppression no more. Disease no more. Death no more.
Echoes reverberate in my head of a time I can only imagine. When the world was poised for no ends. God and creation united. The eternality of God given to all He created. Life eternal a given. Then a cosmic fall, an offense against the Creator. And suddenly everything now poised to end.
Countless years have passed since that rebellion in the Garden of Eden. Yet our lives attest to its happening: we simply cannot shake our discomfort with ends, with death. When all the token phrases and comforting words end, it remains no less unnatural to us. And in our confusion and sadness and despondency, we struggle to find a way back to this place of no ends. Struggle to make our own way back to this ancient place we feel strangely connected to.
The beauty of Christianity is that God becomes one of us to get us there. But he didn’t just take on skin, preach a message, then ascend back up to heaven. He lived among us. Then he did something so entirely unexpected. He died. He tasted of the ultimate end. The One who has no beginning or end dies. Or, better said, he lets his own creation kill him. Seems so unnatural. So impossible, right?
But he couldn’t end. He rose from the dead. And he’s returning to earth. He’ll reunite God and creation in the eternal relationship they once enjoyed in that ancient day. He’ll end all the ends. All the pain and suffering. We will one day live forever. Love forever. Clothed in immortality. The cry of “why” forever silenced. May you enter into the very real story where Jesus is King. Where he ends all the ends.