Image: Scott Erickson
There were a number of fathers in the early church (the first four centuries C.E.) who believed in apokatastasis, “universal restoration” (Acts 3:21). They believed that the real meaning of the resurrection of Christ was that God’s love was so perfect and so victorious that it would finally win out in every single person’s life. - Richard Rohr (Daily Meditations)
What will be the redemptive outcome of the seemingly difficult moments of 2016, the pain of life that often tries to dominate and diminish the pleasures of life?
The universal restoration of God that works all things together for good must still be our optimistic lean if we are to build a future out of the moments of ruin.
In fact, there is always something to be thankful for, especially in the midst of those annoying difficulties that are often exacerbated by anxiety.
‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer’ Apostle Paul
Anxiety is a momentary (sometimes a long moment) internal state of psychological discord that brings us to the realisation that we can no longer hold it all together and must let go in order to find harmony in our soul. I cannot control the outcomes or coerce the circumstances to fall into line with my expectations.Anxiety arrives like an eternal courier, an angel of death so to speak that comes to pick up that which we must let go of, to carry to some undisclosed location. It aides us in our daily dying to the controlled outcomes of societies false expectations, so that we can be resurrected into a new way of being, a new humanity no less.
All that died in 2016 has become seed for the soil of the resurrection life that we must continue to live. That life is fertilised by a prayerful gratitude that supplies us with the nutrients to survive the onslaught of unperceived difficulties. Gratefulness is an anaesthetic for anxiety, momentarily rendering us insensitive to its pain, distracting our consciousness long enough to adjust our mindset and emotional disorientation.
What am I grateful for today, for this year that has gone? Hidden in the memories of the last 365 days are magical moments that can transport me into rapturous recollection, momentarily putting life in true perspective.
Today, one year ago my first grandchild was born, a gift of life to our extended family, a sign and a portent of the exceptional hope that reigns supreme in the human genome.My granddaughter is the reason why 2016 has been more than I could have ever hoped for, a bright light (star) that rested over our family tree, a lure to draw from afar gifts that will sustain and support us into the future. I am grateful for this new life, this inspirational energy source that can I vicariously draw from to keep me young and viable.
In the 71st psalm of King David he said it like this.. ‘Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God,till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come’. My future is a part of larger drama that is being outplayed on the grand stage of life, demanding my contribution and long term commitment.
As this new year approaches consider what are you grateful for and allow that to inspire you to find a new energy in life that alleviates the anxiety that commands your undue attention.