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Abundant life

“There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” 

Very near to the beginning of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol the author makes it very clear that Jacob Marley is dead. Further, knowing that Marley is really dead is required before the story can properly begin. And while this may seem like a strange story to mention with Christmas behind us and Lent before us, it is a good place to start this season. Not because we need to be certain of Jacob Marley’s death, mind you, but of our own. By the time you read this, you might have already attended an Ash Wednesday service and had your forehead marked with ashes as the officiant reminded you that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

Regardless of how we might choose to ignore it, or put it off, or live, all of us are going to die. The existence that you and I know now is temporary and limited. If you find yourself suffering from the loss of a loved one right now, or if you have recently heard news of a terminal illness, you don’t need to be reminded. It’s those of us for whom death is just an idea that seems distant and far away that this reminder is needed.

We don’t need this reminder because our souls are in danger of being lost if we don’t act quickly. This is not about being afraid of what’s to come on the other side of death. On the other side of death are the loving arms of God, and in them will be found justice and mercy and peace.

This reminder is there to ground us. Like the 40 days and nights of Lent before Easter Sunday, we have a certain amount of time to learn to live abundantly. We have a certain amount of time to learn what the abundant life of Jesus looks like in our lives. We have a certain amount of time to really live.

This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

We can’t just reduce this to seizing the day, even though each day is a gift. It also has to be a letting go of the things that limit the fullness of life. It must be a turning away from the things that keep our lives superficial and boxed in by the pursuit of things even more temporary than our existence on earth. 

This year’s Lent will pass, and I hope and trust that those of you reading this will have many more seasons of Lent to come. But the wonder of the fullness of life requires the knowledge of ashes, or nothing wonderful can come from the story that God is relating.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” –John 10:10b

About Trevor Freeman

Trevor Freeman serves the parish of St. Mary’s East Kelowna and is the Executive Archdeacon for the Diocese of Kootenay. He still has days where he looks around and can’t quite believe how far God has brought him. During downtime he can be found with a good book, a properly strong cup of tea, at the gym, or playing golf badly. And if he’s honest, binge watching Netflix.
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One Response to Abundant life

  1. Thank you Trevor. Good words to start our Lenten journey.

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