5 Apr 2016
Lent is a time to renew our baptism call to conversion. But that conversion of heart and mind would be rather anticlimactic if we didn’t let it bear fruit. And the fruit of conversion is renewed life. Of course, that’s what Easter is all about: the resurrection to a new life. The hard work of Lent gives way to the enjoyment of Easter living.
For instance, when someone goes into Alcoholics Anonymous, he or she goes into an experience of cleansing; into a time of conversion. But, at some point, that person begins to live a new life; a life of freedom from alcohol, yes—but also a new life of self-honesty and reliance on others, and especially God. It isn’t a perfect life yet, but it is Easter living; it’s living with more openness and wonderment toward what’s really good, true, and beautiful.
Now, St John gives us the phrase “eternal life.” And we so often focus on the word “eternal,” that we forget that eternal life is, first and foremost, a life. But it’s not just any life; it’s a life of nothing but Goodness, Truth, Beauty, and Wholeness. When our conversion of heart and mind opens us up to Easter living, what we’re being opened up to is the “life” of “eternal life.”
Sometimes I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know that I want this life to go on and on forever.” And what they mean by “this life” is things like: paying the bills, being sick, politics, arguments, personal tragedies, and so on. But, of course, those things aren’t part of the “life” of “eternal life.” But what is are things like: being in love, being inspired by a piece of music, the excitement of playing a game with friends, camaraderie, peace in the soul, understanding in the mind, and so on. Those things are good, true, and beautiful; they’re part of the “life” of “eternal life.” And those things we want to go on forever and ever.
We’re a little over a week into the Easter season, and so it’s good to consider: are we beginning to enjoy the new life of Easter living? Are we freer to let go of what’s unimportant? Are we more open to seeing the good things of life as part of what real and eternal “life” is all about?
We’ve done the work of Lent with our God. So now let it bear fruit in Easter living.