And have it Abundantly

April 16, 2008 at 7:55 am 7 comments

This last Sunday, I was sort of hit over the head with one of the readings. That happens, every so often. It’s part of what makes scripture so dynamic. “WHAT? What did he just say?”

And I’ve been batting some kind of response around in my head for a while now, with no time to try and get anything out. That happens too, every so often.

Anyway, the passage in question was from John- the beginning of a long exchange about sheep and shepherds..

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Well. Umm. Damned if that ain’t the whole freakin’ point right there. Forget John 3:16, here’s the answer to the great question of life the universe and everything: “Jesus? Just what are you hoping to accomplish here?”

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Here is exactly why I can’t get enthused about any “faith based diet”, ever. Good foods, bad foods, restricting fat or calories or whatever… it’s all utterly and completely antithetical to the whole idea of “abundant life”.

It just isn’t good enough to say that Christian faith is all about what happens next. Pie in the Sky when you Die just isn’t enough. The whole Easter message is about everlasting life, which (don’t get me wrong!) is pretty great. I wouldn’t have the first idea of what to say at funerals if it weren’t for the Easter message.

But this life matters, too

So I’ve been thinking, a lot, about the things that make my life seem… well… abundant.

The people who love me, my beautiful daughter, the squirming, wriggling energy-sucking entity within me, the satisfaction of eating good food when I am hungry, the memory of challenging my body to swim, bike, and run further than I thought I could, the hope of doing so again, the smell and colour and warmth and taste of fresh coffee in the morning, a long drink and short rest at the end of a portage, the smell of soil in springtime, (hell, the smell of cow manure in springtime!) swings, about a zillion other things…

Erin’s post here is connected in with that, too. An abundance of compassion seems somehow profoundly connected to an abundant life, too. Perhaps because approaching the world with a mindset of judgment leads inevitably to approaching your onw life with a mindset of constantly needing to live up to the judgments of others. Frankly that seems exhausting to me, your mileage may vary. But compassion, love, joy, peace, hope, patience, kindness… that’s all good stuff. As much as I deplore Paul’s dichotomy between fruits of the “flesh” and fruits of the “spirit”, it does seem as if some of those things might lead to more abundance of life, and some might lead to less.

I’m starting to feel as if, maybe, this is a yardstick that could be useful, though. More useful, anyway, than, say, for example, “healthy lifestyle”

This choice, this action? Will this lead to a more abundant life? For me, or for someone else?
There’s a moral component to food, activity, and other choices that I might be able to get behind. Provided, of course, that I’m ever brave enough to be honest about the answers to that question.

Clearly, sometimes I make choices where the answer is “no”. And I know that, and I make those choices anyway. (If I didn’t, what would I have to say at confession?) But the question isn’t “is this cookie bad” or “will I be good if I go to the gym”. The question is “will this lead to more abundant life”. The way I fuel my body, and the ways I move my body, and the time I give my body to rest… these are legitimately part of that.

It’s easy to say that how I eat, and move, and sleep, has nothing to do with my faith. But it does. Because God does want specific things for me, in this body, right now, in this life.

He came that I might have life, and have it abundantly.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Becky  |  April 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I love your writing. I’m not Christian, but I still enjoy reading about FA from a religious perspective.

  • 2. Cindy  |  April 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    There is a fantastic line in “Angels in America: Perestroika” by Tony Kushner. Prior Walter, a man with AIDS cchosen to be the prophet who will finally find God (who’s left heaven in grief over humanity not needing God as much as God needs humanity) rejects the “cup” set before him.

    “I want more life,” he says.

    His life means a lot of things. Appetites, cravings and searching.

    I’ve never forgotten that line.

    Abundant life is a tricky thing. It’s not for the faint of heart.

  • 3. phledge  |  April 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I’m with Becky. This kind of Christianity? I can get behind. Your writing and your heart are both beautiful.

  • 4. Me Too « spacedcowgirl  |  April 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    […] there is the fact that some people might simply–what a concept–feel that there is more to a life well lived (such as time spent with family or friends, activism, creation of art or handiwork, volunteer […]

  • 5. This is my body… « Ad Imaginem Dei  |  August 10, 2008 at 12:19 am

    […] and 3mL of infant advil that has not come from my body to sustain hers. That she might have life, and have it abundantly. And if that isn’t an icon, a resemblance, clearly a way in which I was, in that moment, very […]

  • 6. Remember you are dust. « Ad Imaginem Dei  |  February 25, 2009 at 11:08 am

    […] I am dust, and to dust I shall return. And if I will not make the choices that will lead to a more abundant life then I have wasted this fleeting gift of […]

  • 7. April D  |  February 25, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    So beautifully written. I’ve fallen in blog-love with Ad Imaginem Dei here 🙂 Abundant life. God has given us the chance to pursue so we might have abundant life.

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