I was writing a sermon this morning and a thought began to develop in my mind. (Note: if this thing is far from Orthodox, blame it on the early morning, ha!)
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of the timelessness we find in the story of Jesus. A few posts back I commented on how Baptism and Eucharist help us collapse time into an ever-present moment. The Hebrew term is “halam” (this is “eternity” in Ecclesiastes 3:11); the Greek term is aion, meaning “ages upon ages”.
Paul’s use of time is interesting. He constantly reminds us that God’s kingdom is coming, has come (in the past), and is here. Craig Keener once noted that if you or I were to ask Paul if he was saved, he’d answer, “Yes, No, Not Yet.” We might think that Paul belongs in a mental hospital, which, he elludes to in hyperbole tone.
However, he realizes that time is a hard topic to “nail down” post-resurrection. The resurrection signified God’s new world, a world that God’s faithful thought would come in a moment, all at once, in the future. However, the empty tomb of Jesus displayed a different sign, “it is come and also on its way.” As some theologians put it, the kingdom is “already and not yet.”
The Christian, then, is forced to focus in multiple places at once, promoting a spinning motion. We know that spinning too much causes us to become dizzy and our equilibrium to be out of whack.
In the Christian life, the upside down type of life, it is the other way around. The spinning from past, to future, to present, to the past again doesn’t throw us off, but re-calibrates us for kingdom work.
When we are only caught up on the past, the present, or the future we tend to judge, complain, slander, and belittle. In the kingdom, to not be dizzy is to be “out of whack”.
When we experience kingdom dizziness we enter into the kingdom realm, we focus on reflecting God’s glory and fixing all of life on the stunning reality of God’s in-breaking world. A world from the future, initiated in the past, and being exposed in the present.