January 2, 2011

Alpha and Omega


Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children” (Revelation 21:6‑7 NRSV).


God existed before all things, and God will exist after all things have reached their destiny. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And since it is God who sent us out on our journey, it is God to whom we long to return. This longing is a part of our created nature. We may not choose to reach toward God as we ought, but inwardly we have a persistent yearning to do so. We can no more change the fact that God is our Source than we can change the fact of our physical parentage. And what God is always asking us to do in this world is dispense with our denial and deal honestly with our hearts' desire for God.

First of all, God is the reason why we reach forward. We long for God because God made us and put within our hearts a need for God; we reach forward because God gave us a nature that tends in that direction. But second, God is also our motive for reaching forward.

The mighty force that moves us is nothing less than this: it is for God’s sake that we want to be better than we are. Deep within our hearts, we want to love God as God has loved us. The third and most important point, however, is that God is the goal for which we reach. God alone is the answer to our questions, the fulfillment of our needs. And the sooner we're able to view God as our goal, the better we'll be able to move forward with our lives.

To live in the world as it now is, is to be “away” from God. This is still God’s world, of course, and God is still very much present within it. But our sins have come between us and God. Like Adam and Eve, whose rebellion meant that they had to leave the Garden, all of us since then have had to live “east of Eden.” What we are is not what we were meant to be. Yet while this truth is sobering, it need not be our final truth. A way has been made possible for us to overcome what we are. Tomorrow can be better than today, and there is a heaven beyond the best of all our tomorrows. But let us not be deceived or distracted: it is God who is both our Alpha and our Omega. Heaven is worth reaching for only because God is there!

 “From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend, Path, motive, guide, original, and end” (Samuel Johnson).