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The Eternal vs The Temporal
As Orthodox Christians, we’re used to the idea of the “eternal.” Our prayers repeat over and over, “now and ever and unto the ages of ages!” This idea of something being stable, being infinite, being timeless can sometimes feel foreign in our fast-fashion, short-attention-span, Prime-delivery everyday world. What’s even more difficult than living at the intersection of these two worlds is the task of inviting others into the awareness of the eternal so that we may share with them the beauty of God and His Church.
Do you feel a tension between the norms of society and the awareness of eternity that our faith presents to us?
Where do you find you “live” between these two worlds? Are you mostly in one? One foot in each? In a different world depending on the day of the week, season of the year, etc?
Is it possible that these two worlds could compliment one another rather than be at odds with each other? What could that look like in our everyday lives?
The Eternal & The Temporal
Believe it or not, both the eternal and the temporal worlds were given to us by God. We live in the temporal, there’s not much we can change about that. Through the Christian life, we are reintroduced to the eternal: to God, to eternal life, to the heavenly realm, to the saints, to the sacraments. We are called to live lives that work to intersect both worlds at all times. In our spiritual walk, our purpose is to live at the very meeting place of the eternal and the temporal. Making every temporal moment and infinite one by bringing Christ’s presence into it.
Have you had a time/season in your life where you found the eternal sanctifying your temporal time? What was that like?
Do you struggle to live at the intersection of these two worlds? Would you rather hop into one for a time and then hop into the other at a different time? Why do you think that is?
Making the Eternal Accessible for Others
If we are to bring the eternal things of God into our everyday, temporal lives, not only will our lives be changed, but also the lives of everyone around us. Since God made us to live at the intersection of the eternal and temporal, everyone around us has a natural longing to experience the eternal things of God. This doesn’t mean we need to be preaching at our friends at all times. Living a life that is filled and sanctified with the eternal will offer a look at what a life-giving existence looks like to all those who are around us. And believe it or not, most of our friends would be receptive and interested in an invitation from you if they already see that your life is different from everyone else’s around them.
How can we live in such a way that makes the eternal present for those around us?
What hinders us from inviting friends into the eternal? (Prayer before eating, attending the Divine services, praying before exams, etc.)
How can we invite others to participate in the eternal?