No Beginning, No End

January 17, 2018

The fact that there is no beginning and no end is evident to me this month.

 

Two weeks ago we celebrated the end of one calendar year and the beginning of another. Every new year involves changes: for me it’s trying remember to write the date differently. Budgets end, vacation accounting resets. And it seems we immediately begin the countdown to the big event that marks the beginning of the end of the year: only 359 days until Christmas. And the cycle starts all over again.

 

We recognize Advent as the beginning of the church year. We start out with quiet preparation for the joyous Christmas celebration. We ramp up our excitement through Epiphany and Lent so we can get to the BIG celebration of Easter. We keep the enthusiasm up until Pentecost. And then, six months into the church year we are into what is called "common time." It is common, it can be boring. We get a little celebratory boost with Reformation and All Saints Day, but generally the church year limps out quietly at the end of November. The new year for the church involves no changing of calendar pages, no writing of new dates. Advent comes quietly once again, and the cycle starts all over again.

 

Our lives are full of continuous beginnings and endings, some more exciting than others.

 

January is the time of annual reports, reviewing the end of one year and laying out plans for the new year. Beginnings and endings flow into each other.

 

I am currently editing a quarterly magazine. When I first saw the schedule it looked as if there was plenty of time between deadlines. But it turns out that as soon as I finish the final work on one issue, the deadline for the next issue is only days away. Beginnings and endings flow into each other.

 

In the Bible whenever there is a reference to one age ending, it is always with the expectation that a new age will begin. Beginnings and endings flow into each other.

 

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The beginning and the end flow into each other.

 

Even in our death there is no end. We are born again in the Resurrection. Beginnings and endings flow into each other.

 

I love Celtic crosses. For me, the circle on the cross is the perfect representation of the eternality of God. It enfolds the cross where God and humans intersect. God is endless, our relationship to God is endless. Beginnings and endings flow into each other.

 

Circles represent completeness, infinity, perfection. They also represent the unending and the unknowable. For whatever reason, I find it comforting to know that the never-ending cycles in my life are both complete and unending, all at the same time.

 

- Ann Warner

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