Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God….
Eternal life starts before we die, and eternal life is to know something, something that changes the way we live.
We had a series of powerful storms here in the Bay Area this winter. The rain felt endless, but during a break in it I went for a hike and saw this tree. It had fallen, and a ranger had cut it with a chainsaw and moved the pieces out of the way, off the path.
I was struck by the beauty of what was revealed.
Like each of us, this Eucalyptus was dying even before the storm brought it down. The storm hit, the tree fell, and the tree was broken open, showing its truth—a sight we wouldn’t have seen if the tree had stayed upright, looking fine.
Back before Easter, a prayer for the 5th Thursday of Lent said this:
God of mercy, you light up what is hidden in darkness and reveal the purposes of the heart. (People’s Companion to the Breviary)
So Lent is over, and it’s Easter. The trees have fallen, the darkness is lit up, the truth is out. If we’re lucky, we know more than we used to about the purposes of our hearts.
Having our own darkness lit up gives us a clearer view of other people (Mt. 7:3-5), and of God too, I think. We know more, and we live differently.