05 March 2015

Undiscovered Country

I was deeply saddened to hear of Leonard Nimoy's death last Friday, and since Jess and I had already seen Wrath of Khan, we watched The Undiscovered Country on Tuesday night in memoriam. To avoid becoming maudlin, and since I've already blogged about sojourning and the city with foundations, I'll just say that the themes of walking into an unknown future while reflecting on a painful past (or present) resonated strongly with me because of what's going on in my life right now.

On Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and fell on 18 February this year, the ashes from the previous year's Palm Sunday branches are smeared onto the foreheads of the congregants to make the shape of the cross. As the pastor does this, he says "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." My paternal grandparents died five years ago this February, and that was weighing heavily on me even as we anticipated the birth of our daughter; and then, twelve days after her birth, my maternal grandfather died (actually, on her expected due date). So I find myself simultaneously delighting in our baby whilst mourning the loss of my grandparents.
I find this cognitive dissonance again when I reflect on the current liturgical season: a time of repentance and sober contemplation of my mortality; and yet, a time of great hope and expectation. For Easter to have any meaning, the Cross must come first, with its attendant agony and atonement; for our daughter to be born, our grandparents had to live and have children of their own (arguably, involving some agony and much atonement). But they need not die in order for a great-grandchild to be born - that is a result of the Fall.
Just imagine living to see your children to the eighth generation, as Adam did. I never knew my great-grandparents, let alone my Mayflower or Wallace progenitors. Liliann will not get to meet her paternal great-grandparents, but will learn about them by the stories we tell her. Similarly, Lent reenacts the story of our hope in the Gospel: we are buried with Christ that we might be raised to walk in newness of life. In doing so, it allows us to look forward to a time when Death shall be no more, defeated under our Saviour's heel, and when we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.

So I find myself hopeful and sobered in this time of reflection and anticipation: I know that my Redeemer lives, and am hopeful that our daughter will come to know Him.

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