an echo of eter­nity

It would seem then that the ideal thing to do is not to have freedom without walls but instead to choose the walls that maximize freedom.Walls must be a) strong and b) maintained. The goal then is to find the perfect rules(walls) and have the perfect self control to follow them. This is what the cell does until it dies. We will not talk about the failures in the past century of fascism, totalitarianism, capitalism and democracy. Let us only say that they are all manipulated for great evil by the same enemy: the wickedness that lies in the human heart. The builders are undone by their tools.

God, meanwhile, has already told this story completely and thoroughly in the Bible. Man and woman made walls will consistently fail horribly and miserably. The best of human self control fails. David whom God said was a man after His Heart, betrayed his identity and slept with another man’s wife and then had her husband killed 2 Sam 11:1-4, 14-17. Moses whom God said was the meekest man acted out in anger Numbers 12:3, 20:10-12. We could not follow even the laws that God gave because we made our own Isaiah 53:6. Israel wanted kings (government = wall) even though God was against this and were destroyed by their kings 1 Samuel 8:7, Hosea 13:10-11. The walls of Jerusalem fell again despite the faithful rebuilding in Ezra and Nehemiah. In the absence of walls, Israel again burst like a cell without walls and was spread out through many nations up until about 70 years ago.

Our self control always, always fails either because our internal motivations contradict themselves so that we cannot maintain our own walls or because our external environment is too strong for the walls we have built. Either way, our freedoms and walls, hard won through many wars, consistently erode and dissipate on a global, national, ideological and personal level. Have we not felt and heard the lament of David in Psalms 22:14-15 repeatedly over the years? What then are we to do?

We Build Badly

Well the Lord comes through again. First He lets us know that except He builds the wall, our labor is pointless Psalms 127:1. Our walls ALWAYS fail because the builder is the limit of the wall. Since we built the wall and are ourselves imperfect, the wall cannot be anything but imperfect and it will fail. Recent and current history has shown in such a bloody way that we cannot be our own limits (:see Bonhoeffer Creation, Fall and Temptation). The height of foolishness is generation after generation continuing to repeat the mistakes of their parents and thinking they will get a different result. So pick your ideology or even make one up. Now ask yourself if this ideology was made by a human being. If the answer is yes then it will fail and people will suffer and people will die. It may take some time but history serves as a proof by induction. Isaiah is right to say Isaiah 40:6.

God: The Living Wall

So God begins with us by mopping up our mess. He promises to gather our selves from all the places we have been spread out into Micah 4:6 because He sees us Genesis 16:13. God encourages us that He will be our boundary and our wall Zechariah 2:5. He is our Unbreachable wall as so often repeated in the Psalms Psalms 18:2, 91:2. He promises to change even our internal motivations in Joel 2:28. He encourages us to let our relationship with Him be our constraint. He encourages us make Him the door of our heart Song of Solomon 8:6. He encourages us to stop being our own gods and exchange our current leaky boundaries for His Solid self Matthew 10:39.

Yes this leads to death, but He promises that through this death, we shall have a new kind of life and a new set of freedoms. From eternity He abides and so He is not a God of the dead but of the living Luke 20:38. So that those who died long ago are alive because God, their Wall, preserved them against death. Our identity will be secure and never threatened Revelations 2:17. If the search is for a wall that maximizes freedom, then I ask what wall is more perfect than God? We only have to believe Him!

An Echo Of Eternity

In closing, let us consider again the errant, misguided wisdom of Maximus Decimus Meridius when he said, “What we do today, echoes in eternity.” This is a good place to start although as you will see we will proceed by turning around in repentance. This fictional character relates today to eternity in a pagan way. This is not ideal but at least there is a relationship (between today and eternity) which is more than can be said of our societies today. Rightly and Christianly understood, what you do today does NOT echo into eternity. Instead, God would have us understand that today is the echo! Eternity is the true, rich and full-bodied song. Maximus, were he a Christian, would have said instead, “What you do today is an echo of your eternity.”

God would have us understand that today is a seed. Seeds, once planted, do not diminish in presence. Instead, seeds grow and take up more space as they become trees. So that the deeds of today become the laments or joys of the later years. The seeds planted in adolescence grow into trees of adulthood and continue to grow beyond death into eternity. There, in eternity, they continue to produce the sweet fruit of everlasting joy or the bitter fruit of everlasting suffering. So today is an echo. Just like a seed is not larger than tree, so also an echo cannot be louder than the song. So then today (an echo) is always bounded, limited by eternity (the song).

There is therefore a boundary, a limit, on what you can do today and that boundary is eternity. Today, today every action you take is but an echo of what you will do tomorrow. Judge wisely which the tune you will hum today for you will be singing it with all your might for the rest of time Ecclesiastes 12:1, Lamentations 3:29. This is the last limit. The limit of judgment. Note here as we have said before and clarify here. God makes the court and sets the laws. He is the Judge who allows us to judge ourselves Matthew 7:2.

From Seed To Tree

In heaven, He will not cut down the errant, poisonous tree that has grown in time and space. There was time to do that on earth. He will not make you into what you never wanted to be. So if your life reflected a desire to live under His rule on earth then you will continue to live under His rule in heaven. If your life instead reflected a desire to rule yourself then it shall be so for you as well but your kingdom will be your hell just as it was an echo of hell in time. For this is the judgment: not that we have done wrong but preferred to do evil after knowing what was right John 3:19. Not that I sang out of tune but preferred to keep humming it, singing it “my way” even after I heard a more beautiful song.

Ask Yourself These Questions

What are your walls and boundaries?

What is your name, your role, your relationships and your goals?

Will your walls hold?

Will they fail and leak you out into the world or swell you up with it?

What song are you echoing today?

“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowl­edge.”
- 1 John 2:20

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.