Arthur Stace’s copybook-script graffiti painted all around Sydney in the years between 1932 and 1967, and featured at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, has entered into Australian folklore. The one, elegantly written word asks the question, “Where will you spend eternity?” The usual assumption is that eternity is something to be experienced after our period of time-bound existence is ended. However, time and eternity, in John’s Gospel, do not stand as an either-or option, but rather as a both-and situation. Eternity is not distinct from life in this world of time and space. This is similar to the way it is with the First Peoples of Australia whose eternal Dreaming intersects with time-bound existence in a way that later Australians find hard to understand. The eternal kingdom of God is present in the here and now. However, one needs divinely inspired insight to realize it. Or to put it in Jesus’ words, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” It is by God’s Spirit moving in our hearts that we come alive to God’s eternal realm. Now. Not just later on. Living on an eternal dimension while still living in this time-bound existence – it’s not easy, but it is an exhilarating experience, an experience opened up for us by Jesus. God so loves the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who places trust in him is able to share in this eternal life now and also beyond all time-bound existence. By God’s Spirit, eternity meshes in with our time-bound lives to transform our day-to-day living. Let’s be ever responsive to the urgings of that Spirit.
- How can we distinguish the promptings of God’s Spirit from other urges or impulses that we have?
- What do you understand by the word eternity?
- What difference does it make to understand that eternity intermeshes with time-bound existence and is not just something we look forward to after death?
- How does the Gospel help you face the inevitability of your own death?