The Ultimate Mystery

Life Notes—April 29, 2010 

“Little children, I am with you only a little while longer.  You will look for me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’”  John 13:33 

I have been to Salt Lake City a number of times.  It is a beautiful city, clean and well-maintained with friendly people.  It is set in a large valley, surrounded by mountains.  To the north you can see ski slopes.  In the middle of town is “Temple Square,” housing a number of Mormon buildings, including the Tabernacle and the Temple.  The non-Mormon public is invited and encouraged to walk through the various buildings and visit with Mormons in the square.  But when it comes to the Mormon Temple, only Mormons are allowed to enter.  For the rest of us, that Temple is forbidden.  Beautiful on the outside, but what mysteries are hidden within? 

In the passage above, Jesus knows his days on earth are limited—his death is imminent—and he is preparing his followers for what is to come.  He is going where they cannot go.  He will be on the other side of the grave where only those who have died have gone.  For the rest of us this is the ultimate mystery—what lies on the other side?  Elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus assures us he is going to prepare a place for us there, but doesn’t share anything of the nature of the place or our future existence within it.  It is a statement that generates more questions than answers.  But at least it tells us there is a place for us on the other side; therefore, there is a place. 

In my simplistic understanding, much of Jesus’ message was to assure us there is more to this life than this life.  In other words, what we know and experience on earth is only what we know and experience on earth.  That is why much of what he said creates more questions than answers and why his words are subject to different interpretations.  We have only an earthly yardstick by which to measure and define truths that extend far beyond earth.  Jesus came back across death’s division several times to commune with his disciples, proving there is more to this life than we can see or experience.  After the passage above, Jesus commands that we “have love for one another.”  It is by our love we are to be known.  In spite of what happens on earth, we know there is more.  We cannot outgive love.  That knowledge allows us to love one another regardless of circumstances, without fear of the consequences.  That sets us apart.  That allows us entry into a secret place that, although anyone can enter, not everyone chooses to go. 

Tom continues his “Simply Christian” series with, “Loving Others,” based on the scripture John 13:31-35.  Life (Living in Faith Everyday) worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus begins at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  You are invited where we are going—First Church!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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