The famous singer/songwriter Bob Dylan once sang, “He who is not being born, is busy dying.” When I heard this lyric, my heart sang with joy. Somewhere, deep down inside, we all know that those closer to the beginning of life are really much farther ahead of us in this thing called life. Jesus understood this so clearly when he spoke of the children that surrounded him. He told us that little children have already inherited the Kingdom of God, and so we must be like them. Children are naturally in tune with their lives. They weep, they laugh, they smile, they frown, because they’re still rooted in their very being. It is we who are busy dying who have taught them to no longer trust, to resist love, and to move away from their already born state.
When we hold to the promises of the Bible, we ought to be filled with a new sense of hope. The state of the world, as we see it, is not being born; it is busy dying. We are occupied with wars, financial crises, and great poverty. I have been wondering to myself, where is the Church in all of this, and what does it have to say? Deep within our souls, we ought to remember the promises that have been given to us. The promise that God is reconciling all things to him, and God is going to make all things new. God is promising us a life that is always busy being born (because the experience of God is the death of all of our lives). The work of the Holy Spirit constantly bringing us into our new birth. Maybe, this is why Paul alludes to the fact that salvation is for those who are being saved. Our always being born, our always being saved, is a continuation, from this life to the next.
People who are afraid of death have not yet found salvation. Those who tremble in fear of their deaths, I believe, have a deeply unaware knowing that is telling them, “I have not yet lived.” When we live, when we truly live, then we can utter the words of Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” This prayer of gratitude is the one that knows that because life has been lived, then life can given away, and died to. Where do we find life, in our journey through it?