Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:66-69)
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware comments on the meaning of ‘eternal life’:
“Let us think of our human existence as a book. Most people regard this present life as the actual text, the main story, and they see the future life – if, indeed, they believe that there is any future life – as no more than an appendix. But the genuinely Christian attitude is the exact reverse of this. Our present life is in reality no more than the preface, the introduction, while it is the future life that constitutes the main story. The moment of death signifies not the conclusion of the book but the start of Chapter One.” (The Inner Kingdom, pg. 25)
Our lives are chapters in God’s book of life. The most wonderful, joyous and blessed news is that this life is but the preface, the beginning of our lives which will continue into eternity, but then in a place where God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). No matter how short or long our life on earth, the best is yet to come for this life is but a short preface to the narrative of eternal life.
St. Theophan the Recluse offers additional insight into understanding ‘eternal life’:
“‘I am a sojourner on the earth, hide not from me Thy commandments.’ A wanderer strives for his goal, passing by, lingering nowhere. Yet, very often, men live as if they had to live on earth eternally. How can he not forget his eternal destination and not get too much embroiled in the things of this world?” (Commentary on Psalm 118/119 by , pg . 9)
Our lives on this planet are very short compared to the grand scale of the universe. Any one of us might live to be 90 years old, but the universe is already 15 billion years old, so my life span even if long by human standards, is an atom in a drop in the bucket full of water which is the universe. Life on earth, life in time, are a tiny portion of all that is. One only needs to think of the vastness of the universe to realize the magnitude of time and space, and to know our entire planet only occupies the tiniest portion of it all. There is simply the grand scale of things. And I, no matter how long I live or how important I am to the world am only a miniscule portion of earth and its history. The greater part of existence – God’s own kingdom – is only minimally visible to us on earth. I may taste of this Kingdom in my lifetime but will only fully experience it in the world to come. Which means the greatest part of life and the universe are hidden from me for the time being. I can, however, learn to see my life in the perspective of eternity, of the Kingdom, of God. In God, we all overcome the limits of our minuteness and become part of all that is. For in God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), we are part of eternity.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established; what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you made him little less than God, and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalms 8:3-6)