People (Christians) talk a lot about "eternal life". Some think that it means the literal English definition: never-ending. Others talk about it as being outside of the space-time continuum: Something beyond never-ending and more like transcending time. Either way, it usually is described as something that happens in the future, someday, after death... then.
I don't care about life after death. I care about life now, because Jesus cared about life now. The phrase "eternal life" as used all throughout the Bible did not mean never-ending, as in a distance of time with no beginning and no end. As Pope Benedict XVI described, that would be quite miserable. The prophets, Jesus, and the disciples talked about a better way of life in this world. There's the way things are now, and the way things are going to be. There's this age, and the age to come. There is pain, and there is redemption. There is death, and there is life.
But even more convincing to me than all this rhetoric is what we can actually experience as little glimpses of "life of the eternal":
That feeling of losing track of time when you're doing something you enjoy.
The total loss of physiological awareness when you're immersed in something you're passionate about.
Those moments when you just know that the thing you're doing is so right that you feel outside of your body, unaware of hunger, thirst, time, or that pile of bills on the kitchen table.
Some people call it "being in the zone".
I call it eternal life.
9.24.17 First Baptist Church in Madison, SD
3 weeks ago