Do you remember the feeling of planning a future holiday? Not just a trip down the coast, rather a once in a decade type of serious splash. Maybe overseas.
With those plans comes a sense of anticipation. Then comes the phase of preparation. Perhaps you need to buy certain clothes or travel accessories or get ‘fit' for hiking. You may have to save, forgo some other treats.
From time to time you go online and check out the places you could stay, or the things you could see and do. You may read reviews of other travellers. And when you are feeling down, or stressed, or over-loaded, the thought of that impending getaway makes the present challenges more bearable.
In philosophy and theology, we have a word for this: ‘Telos’. It means living towards a purpose, or a greater end.
Covid has to some extent undermined our ability to live with a ‘telos’. In Covid, planning is risky. You are not sure when the next outbreak or restrictions might be. You are not confident that being on a cruise in the Mediterranean, or in Paris at the Louvre would be the fulfilment of your dreams.
And so life takes on a kind of hum-drum, going through the motions, stuck in the present vibe.
If you have become aware of this feeling recently, use it as a reminder that the Christian life always has a ‘telos’. We have been given a task. To reflect God’s image and foreshadow his Kingdom in the here and now, so that people might catch a glimpse of it and anticipate it’s coming in full.
Whatever you have to forgo in the present, you will receive more in the future. The planning, the preparation, the anticipation, the reading the reviews all help to endure life’s challenges now, and begin to experience the joys of the now, and for eternity.
Rev David Rietveld