The omnipresence of Wi-Fi is a current fact of life, what with, seemingly, iPhones, and iPads obvious wherever there are people, whether sitting in coffee shops, walking their dogs, or at almost any gathering of friends. The access to information is a huge blessing in so many ways. Nearly all of us have become dependent on it. But, … lurking just beyond the Wi-Fi world there are haunting questions: What does my life mean? Does my life have any real significance beyond my current project? Does anyone care that I am here? Or care for me as a person? And: Is there anything beyond this life? Any ultimate destination? Or Is the grave the end of it all?

Meaning, acceptance, and life beyond this life—these are the issues. These have occupied poets, psychiatrists, song writers, and philosophers over the span of human history. It would seem that the emerging post-Christian culture finds these all archaic, or irrelevant to their lives, since so many eschew any attachment to religion, or any dependence on philosophical thinking, … or at least brush the questions out of sight since they make them uncomfortable. But they don’t go away. Tragedies occur, lives are snuffed out, fire destroys all you’ve lived for, terminal illnesses come unexpectedly. … What does my life mean?

After the holocaust during those nightmarish years of the 20th century, the Austrian psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, noted that those prisoners who had a sense of meaning in their lives survived more often than those who did not. He developed what he termed logo-therapy, or the therapy of meaning. He saw it as a universal need for one’s healthy psyche.

To me it is interesting that Jesus, and the apostles of the early church, saw these human needs as significant components of their message of God’s New Creation. Jesus’ teachings offer to us a whole new abundant life that is part of God’s design and loving intent of a new creation suffused with God’s acceptance and love, of Jesus as the explanation, the word of meaning, made flesh. He had a message of hope for life beyond life, and of a life that was marked by love and caring.

Then, the apostle Paul, makes reference to three elements that make up the Christian life: faith, hope, and love. These point directly to the three haunting questions mentioned above:  Does my life have meaning? Does anyone care about me? Is there life/hope beyond this life?

To say, then, that our embrace of these components of Christ’s life and teaching should be radically formative in our engagement with the human community in the specific expressions it takes for us. Peter even noted that in a hostile context that we should be ready with a thoughtful answer when anyone asks a reason for the hope that is in us. Jesus made plain that our love for all humankind, our caring for each individual, is a sine qua non component of our new creation lives. And the very fact that Jesus came to destroy the power of death and to give us such great hope. And, the apostle makes very specific that in Jesus, the mystery hidden for the ages, is made unveiled.

When there is no access to Wi-Fi, we can fruitfully reflect of the wonder of God’s new creation where these are no longer mysteries, but rather, components of our lives in Christ, which we are to incarnate before the watching world. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9).

In Christ, the questions are no longer haunting, but rather sources of our rejoicing, of the new song in our hearts.


About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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