Reading – Romans 8:35-39
Homophones are some of my favorite words, and the English translation of the letter to the Romans provides one pair tonight: “separate” the verb, which Paul uses, and “separate” the adjective. On the former, I disagree with Paul on one point. There is a creature that can separate us from the love of God: us.
God gives us the ability and the choice to reject Her, both in our lives here and in the life to come, the former of which prepares us for the latter. While we are now and eternally surrounded by God and God’s love, we can ignore them, barricade ourselves from them, and turn in on ourselves, for whatever reason.
This separation, when chosen for eternity, scares me even more than eternity itself (a fear that could take up a whole post itself). I imagine it as endlessly numbing yet maddening, a feeling of utter nakedness and smallness in the whole of the universe and reality, with no connection to or purpose in it – isolation from all things for all time.
On a happier note, if we choose to embrace God’s love here and after death, we find eternal fulfillment and joy, still realizing our smallness in the face of Mystery but doing so in the knowledge that we are part of the creation formed, sustained, saved, and cherished by that Mystery – connection with all things for all time. But our “union” with God in heaven is not a true union, an erasure of our individual self or soul in the great Divine self. Rather, we remain us as unique people, flourishing along with all of creation in comunnion, dialogue, relationship with God. We will be intimately connected yet distinctly individual, living and thriving in a creative tension between self and community imitative of the one and triune God.
In the end, we are separate from God and can fully separate ourselves from God’s love, even eternally reject it, and we will always remain separate from God, able to enjoy a communion, not a union, with Her as who She created us to be in eternal dynamism and bliss.
May we let the separation between us and You decrease as much as possible until we reach and joyfully enter this communion, O God. Thank you. ~