Living History or Eternal Moment?
Thoughts on the Passing of My Father
[W]e spend our years as a tale that is told....for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Ps. 90:9-10 KJV
We live our lives as a tale that is told: so says this psalm of Moses. We are all present participants in “living history.” One moment after our present is immediately history. As I type these words, they are already history, representing but a past action as you read them, which reading is also past as soon as your eyes are done. (Our future, unknown to us but to God, is already our past as well. It is our past unrealized, as yet untraversed through our experiencing of it.)
For this cause, it is a mistake to distinguish between our present and our past as if a substantial difference exists between them. Their only difference is one of fleeting experientiality on the screen of soul consciousness. But that is not where the true divide in life is found. Life lived only in time is the same, whether it is being momentarily experienced or already has been, or will be. This is the meaning of living our lives as a tale that is told.
The real difference in life lived as Christian believers is defined in the question, “Am I living life moment-by-moment out of my inner well of eternal abidance in the ever-present Immanence of Christ, or out of my native attunement to living history which passes on in the same moment it is experienced? Am I living by the eternal moment, or only as the tale that is past as soon as it is told?” This is the true qualitative distinction between the two modes of life before us, between the temporal and the eternal, the carnal and the spiritual.
The unbeliever does not have this choice between “lifes.” His existence is only one of living history. His present and future are already his past before he has even met them. His life can only be that of the tale that is told. But for us, it is not to be that way. We are to be growing in our eternality. The more that time passes us by in living history, the more we ought to be walking in the momentary eternality gifted to us by new birth and germinated by the Holy Spirit within, less and less aware of our historic life. We are to be continually capturing and converting living history into momentary eternality—that is, into “eternal moment.”
This is why we can afford to be neither dwellers in the past nor those satisfied to live “for the moment.” There is no real daylight between the two. Both are of living history. The same is true of the future, and why we cannot be a people always bent on pursuing and projecting into that which has not happened. Men of this life can choose only from among these three modes of living history. They choose to which of the three they will give their energies. But all are only of living history. Nothing more.
We do not want to be mere living historians in any tense. We want to be embraced of the momentary eternal. This is a decision that as believers we are able to make, that we must make, and a process of continuous conscious exchange to which we must be devoted. Christ within us must be our all, our summum bonum of experience, and our only reference point for final reality to which we bring all the rest of living history captive—present, past and future. For the experiencing of living history will finally pass away. And what but memory will we have left after such historic life is gone? Memory is not life, but the image of event that is either enhanced or degraded by imagination. And imagination is also not life.
So then, are your years seeing that conversion happening within you? Are you growing into the momentary eternal? Are you growing into the Immanence of Christ who already indwells you? Are you dwelling in the immediate consciousness of the Word and will of God which abides forever? Or are you letting living history define you and shape your ultimate sense of purpose, whether you are devoted to the present, past or future—all of which passes away before it leaves your mouth and emits from the theater of your mind?
Walking this way like Enoch until we “are not” is our real goal. Walking outside and beyond our living history is our goal. Abiding in the Immanence of Christ is our goal, and to meet the challenges of growing into that Immanence through what is presented to us in the theater of living history, whether by thought or passion, whether of fear or of short-sighted hope and expectation. We only want to really endeavor to abide in the eternal moment. This is the true faith.
At a point of existence known only to God, this process will lose its mortal context for us altogether. And when it does, then we will find out just how eternally minded and prepared and fit for true existence we became in the cocoon of this history. Look around you and see all the cemeteries. See all these whose mortal context already concluded its course of opportunity. Where are they now? Did they vanish away with their history to never be more than the tale that was told? Or did they capitalize on the eternality available to them through Christ who rebirths and indwells us upon our confession of repentance and faith in Him? Was the Holy Spirit able to perfect our eternality inside this carcass while that carcass was left to us for this end?
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created August 6, 2019