Now and Not Yet
We belong to heaven but we live on earth for this time. We are souls but we have a body. Spread throughout Christian teaching, and particularly focused at Easter, is the proclamation that we are saved by the blood of Christ on the Cross. Because of God’s mighty acts, not our own, we are given salvation and eternal life. Yet still we are here in this world where there are so many struggles. So it seems we are saved now and not yet. Rather than being a wishy-washy way of expressing Christianity, this now-and-not-yetness is probably the most accurate way of addressing both our eternal salvation and the opportunity to live faithfully in the present. We are given the greatest promise of all at Easter and made to wait for the promise to be fulfilled in our own lives.
So selfish are we that things we do not have fully and completely right now are things we doubt and question. Beyond being just cynical, we pridefully demand to live by only what we hold in our hands. Very much like self-centered children, we want it all right now.
Yet even at Easter, in the midst of the greatest gift we could ever imagine, our Lord asks us to wait for his promise to be enacted in us. It is not that his promise remains unfulfilled; in Christ the promise has already been carried out, once for all. The promise extends to us and to the specific day which lies ahead of us. The promise is being enacted in us and that involves our future which we cannot see ourselves.
Couples stand at the altar and promise to love one another. Already they have experienced the grace and power of loving and being loved and now they extend a promise for the future. In some ways the vows are the culmination of a mutual experience; in many other ways the vows are the beginning of love to come. And certainly the power of the vows is that each intends to love the other when the other is unlovable. We humans carry out those vows inadequately but God carries out his vows perfectly. As Jesus is crucified, dead, and raised, God extends himself to us in his most perfect vow: he will love us though we are unlovable.
Trust God’s perfect promise. Be assured of God’s will to carry out the plan of salvation in each of us and all of us together. Have the hope that God’s gifts will come about completely in your tomorrow and live today to God’s glory and honor.
Have a blessed Great Fifty Days of Easter which begins this Sunday!
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.