Alpha and omega, the beginning and the end
By Fr. Jonathan Filkins
The letters, alpha and omega, which bookend the Greek alphabet, have often been used to illustrate the beginning and the end of something. The Christian Bible is a regular example. Containing “books” or “letters,” and written by many authors, the verses the Bible contains are the foundation of the adherents’ beliefs. In the final book, the “omega,” we know as the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ is quoted as saying, “I am the Alpha and Omega, which is, which was, and which is to come. “
Our essential knowledge, of Christian spirituality, begins with the “alpha,” Book of Genesis. In the first line we read, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” Later verses, chapters, letters and other books go on to tell us how the rest of our world was formed, how we are to behave, and the telling of the Son of God coming into our midst. As was prophesized, Jesus Christ came down to us, and established his earthly church under the New Covenant.
It would be easy to misconstrue the mission of the Christ in his time with us. Certainly, for those who were able to physically interact with him, they did so with extremely cynical and, less than charitable, actions. Even his apostles, who had followed him for three years, and who had experienced, first-hand, his many miracles, were not fully convinced of his divinity. Sadly, it was only after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and then his return to their presence, and then his return to heaven, and then the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them, was there the full acceptance that God had been with them. What a smack in the head that must have been!
Our Christian Bible tells us many things. Yet, it is acknowledged within this same text that all of what occurred in Jesus’ earthly ministry was not transcribed for our eyes to see. Indeed, the Bible does not seemingly fully tell us everything we need to know about our relationship with him, or what our relationship shall be, after our judgement. If it did, there would be a serious decline in the rancor among Christians; who regularly argue and finger-point about the mundane.
Today, we hear a bunch of things about heaven, or hell, but much of it has roots in the Medieval period, the Industrial Age, or later. What we are given, with certainty, is that God-given attribute of free will. As did Adam and Eve, that alpha couple in the garden, we too are given to make errant judgements. Our judgements are, by our very natures, quite flawed; most particularly if God, through Christ Jesus, is left out of the equation.
Our lives may be expressed in a similar way. We too have an alpha and omega in our own time on this earth. Our “alpha” begins with the divine spark of our creation, and we find our “omega” when death overtakes us. Unlike Jesus, we, of course, are not divine; but yet we have the potential to be with the divine forever, if we so choose.
Our earthly life does not have to be our last omega, where we find the end of our life and eternal darkness. By the grace and mercy of God, we could have another alpha and another omega. What the Holy Bible does tells us, as Jesus tells us, is the words therein are enough for our use; to not only know what is the New Covenant, but how we are to live it. Simply, we know what is necessary for our salvation. No matter what the posturing, the arguing, the excuse making, and the twisting of Scripture, we are called to follow Jesus Christ, in thought, word and deed. We may not know what our final chapter shall be, but we do know we have an ongoing opportunity to construct the final chapter, writ large in God’s image.
How this chapter unfolds, and the outcome, is left up to ourselves and our relationship with Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, we have been given our alpha and know the certainty of an omega.
Now, it is our choice if there may be two.