Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Are Spiritual Beings Having a Material Experience.

To begin somewhere in the middle, as is usual whatever protests or affectations an author may adopt, I think that it is a critical piece to any understanding of my religious ideas and contemplations that I approach them from a perspective that our souls are transcendental, and our experience here on earth is an inherently limited portion of our full existence.

Let me share some musings on the limits of our knowledge and our proper attitude towards life beyond this mortal coil, which inform my general beliefs and inform many conclusions likely to be put forward in future thoughts.

Does the Ministry of Christ speak to the topic of life beyond the mortal life? Most certainly it does, I do not seek to deny this. However, I assert that as in so many other things, the context of audience is as important as the content of speech in understanding. Christ needed to inform the children of Israel that in electing to follow him, they fate of their soul was placed into his sure keeping, so that they could have assurance to allow them to live fully the New Life without the burdens of worry for their souls.

I like to consider the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-18). In which we are shown that the Lord will give until all who accept his labors that which is needful to them. In Christ, our souls are safe, labor we our whole lives in his name, or but days before our death. If this seems unfair, do you truly labor in the joy of Christ, or do you labor for the dream of some wealth, physical or otherwise, you covet?

And there is the crux of my thoughts on this Material Life being merely an interlude, a short sojourn of our being. I feel that our Saviour has tried to prepare us in word and deed for the notion that what we understand here and value here may not be at all that which is of value when we exist in incorrupt form. For even if we are to put on a physical body again, can we really grasp a life without scarcity or need? I know that it is beyond me.

For these reasons, we do not possess the means or understanding to labour in a way which we can understand preparing a good store for us in the life to come; and so our focus must NOT be on the life to come in Heaven. It must be on the life we have here. Our Savior lets us know that it is not the labor of our hands with will sustain our souls beyond death that we may be freed of a burden of worry, not that we may rest idle for the day of this life.

For if we are brothers and sisters of Christ and servants in the Vineyard of the Lord can we stand idle? I feel the answer is no. The Holy Spirit is a kind but ever watchful taskmaster. Through him, I strongly feel that a Christian can always gain a sure knowledge of work yet to be done, and find joy in pursuing that work. Do these works “earn” us wages in the life to come? No, our hands can never earn us one pittance of sanctification save it be by grace of the Lord. These works are their own reward HERE and NOW. I contend that when we open our hearts and seek to draw ever closer to embodying love, we will find that to live idle fills us with a sense of unease, with remorse, and possibly with shame, while to act causes us to brim over with joy, conviction, and an ever surer faith. Ongoing good works are not the price of salvation; they are the reward, a truth hard to reach without a faith in the boundless love of man, of which Christ stands a beacon.

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