Over the last few months, I have been increasingly compelled to think and live eschatologically. By this I do not mean an obsession with the particulars of end-times prophecy, but rather a continuous remembering that we are not of this world but sojourners who eagerly await a city with foundations. If you've read my posts or poetry, you may have picked up on this thread in my life. In the past month alone, the following have all touched on our expectant waiting for Christ's return, the already/not-yet tensions of the current age, and so on:
- untitled poem [I stand at gated wall...] (52 Verses)
- untitled poem [if all my verses were complete...] (52 Verses)
- a wracked, a shattered world (52 Verses)
- 3:01 am (Thoughts: A Flame)
- —the curtain rises slow (52 Verses)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of this comes out in the form of poetry or expressive non-fiction. There is something of the longing and hope of our eschatological desires that can hardly be expressed in simple essays. Great depths of emotions demand expressions that go beyond the didactic.
Our hearts long for more—and what they long for is real. The Holy Spirit uses that longing to remind us that we were not made only for here and now, not only for this fallen, broken ruin of a world, but for eternity. We were not made for dying and death, but for life. We were made for a world that does not end, that entails no suffering, that sees no hopes crushed by the weight of disappointment. We were made for more.
And that more that we wait for is already here and now—though only in part. As I wrote at 52 Verses today, the sky is brightly lit long before the sun actually rises. So too it is with us: we live in a world illuminated by Christ's coming, and the way our future hope has broken in on this world and begun its renewal, even as we wait for Christ to come again and finish what he started in his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection.
Eschatology is not merely a secondary topic. The particulars are more secondary, I think, but the fact that, as Rich Mullins put it, the old world has started dying and the new world has started coming in is perhaps the most important thing for us to realize, after the gospel itself, as we walk out our Christian lives. The world will not remain as it is, and the new version will break in, triumphantly and conclusively.
(Perhaps it's simply from reading N. T. Wright. In which case, a lot more people need to be reading him—even if we differ on some conclusions, that's a remarkably helpful emphasis in his writing.)