I love Jesus. I feel it in the marrow of my bones. As the song says, "Over my head, I hear music in the air. There must be a God somewhere." There has to be a God. Jesus has to have died on the cross for my sins and your sins. Christ must have risen from the grave to show that death has no dominion over me. My entire life is based on my love for and service to God. It must be true.
But...what if I'm wrong...about everything? What if there is no God, Jesus was just a guy, and when you die all that happens is "the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout?"
I feel as if I were born with an ingrained awareness that there was more to life than just living, that I was watched over and called by an all-powerful God to fulfill a destiny which had been written for me while I was yet in my mother's womb.
But I could be wrong.
Is this world purely the random result of a Big Bang somewhere in space and the mindless march of evolution? Is there no such thing as destiny? Is God the "opiate of the masses," as Marx claimed? Will I never get to meet my savior face-to-face in the end, but instead simply fade away into nothingness? Was my grandmother a fool for believing, for waking up in the middle of the night to drop to her knees in fervent prayers of intercession for others? Maybe she was just talking to the air. Am I wasting my time in church on Sundays? Perhaps "Sundays were made for the New York Times," as the ad says.
There are a few ways this could play out:
- When I finally lay down this mortal coil, it will all be as I hoped. Every day will be Sunday. There will be a new heaven and a new earth with no more death and sickness. God will wipe away every tear and God's desire that all be saved will come to fruition.
- When death comes, there is more, but it looks nothing like what I imagined. God tells me I worshipped and evangelized an imaginary savior, and Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the only true proclaimer of the Truth. Or Buddha, or Vishnu, or something I may never have heard of was really the "right" way to God.
- When death comes...nothing. My energy is simply reallocated according to the laws of physics and that is the absolute end of me.
In the meantime...I try with my every breath to feel and express unconditional love for everyone. Even my enemies. Even political candidates I think are destructive. Everyone. Unconditionally. I pray for them, treat them with respect, and approach no one with a spirit or behavior of hate.
I proclaim hope to myself and others in tangible ways. If others need hope and help, I endeavor to be a "God with skin on" for them, embodying the caring Lord I serve who encourages me to do all that I can for all. My focus is not on a better me, but on a better us. And us has no boundaries.
I operate on the presumption that I am never alone, and the struggle to do better and to be more is never over. When absolutely all strength and hope is gone, I go on because I'm convinced that is not the end of the story. I see the best in myself and others. I leave the 99 to go after the one. Always. Every time.
I condemn no one. I judge no one. I build, not destroy. I help, not hurt. I share, not hoard.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise; I think and work on these things.
At least I try to.
And then, whichever way things play out, I'm covered.
Won't you join me?