Friday, January 3, 2014

Fragile Life

It is cold this morning. My thermometer reads 1 degree, and it has warmed up with the rise of the sun! The forecast is minus 12 degrees tonight.  On the news last night there was the story of a sightseeing expedition to the Antarctic being rescued from an icebound ship. Brrr.

How tenuous human life is on this planet! We exist within a very small range of habitable conditions. The pictures from the International Space Station remind us that the biosphere of this planet, which sustains all life, is a very thin layer. A good sized meteor could change all that. Just ask the dinosaurs.

My life is fragile, as are the lives of all those I love. A mutation in the genetic code of some cells can send cancer spreading throughout our bodies. This scourge will likely be cured in a generation or two. My grandchildren will hopefully look on cancer the way I look on polio. But for now, it is hovering threat.

I just read a report that says that there are over 100,000 preventable physician-caused deaths in hospitals every year. More than are killed in traffic accidents. It makes me choose my physicians very carefully.

As a pastor I have a front row seat to the fragility of human life. In response to this reality we can contract into a protective cocoon in order to extend our lives. Or we can flaunt the odds and live on the edge through extreme sports. (Not much chance of me doing that!) 

My option is to simply live in the joy of knowing that our lives are fragile. Mortality is the beauty of human existence.

The other night we watched the movie The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Come to think of it, perhaps that is what is prompting this blog. In the film Freeman mentions a survey which asked people whether they would want to know the date of their death. 96% said No.

Every day is a gift from God. This inhabitable planet is a miracle. I am a conscious being blessed to live briefly in this thin envelope of life. It is a wondrous gift. Every moment is an eternity. Every second is another sacred moment.

God has given humans the ability to be part of the miracle. We are the earth being aware of itself through these instruments of animal flesh. (The Hebrew word for “human” means “dirt.”) We are conscious earth.

Perhaps the “conscious” part is what it means to be created in the image of God. No wonder God chose to be incarnated in Jesus. God wanted to get in on the fun!

God incarnates again and again in us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. The Holy Spirit living in us and through us. Christ living now in the Body of Christ. God incarnated in a multi-body organism called the Church. God peers through our eyes into the depths of the universe, wondering at the fragility of life.

Art is "Fragility of Life," the third in a series of 3 paintings of tar, undercoat and pen, by Deborah Baas. Here is her site

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