No ending is the end

“In my end is my beginning,” T.S. Eliot writes in his poem “Four Quartets.” It’s one of my favorite poems, especially since I’ve been thinking about endings and beginnings a lot lately. In less than a month, I will graduate from college, pack up my things, and move away from the apartment I’ve called home and the roommates I’ve lived with for the last few years. The thirty days between now and then will be full of lasts: the last time I’ll give a campus tour in my green polo and khakis, the last time I’ll say goodbye to my coworkers as I step out of the office, the last time I’ll walk into class as an undergraduate. I have made good memories and good friends here, and I am sad to see it end.

Still, in this ending, there is a beginning. I’ll move out of my apartment into a new one in a semi-new part of town, start a new job, and meet new people. “In my end is my beginning”—and this is true not only for college seniors like me, or for high school seniors or about-to-be-newlyweds or expectant parents or anyone else on the cusp of an ending-beginning, but also for all of us on a cosmic scale. All these ending-beginnings are tiny echoes of the grand truth that in Christ, no ending—not even death!—is so final as not to be followed by a beginning. 

Scripture is full of endings that are followed by beginnings. Abram’s life as such ended, and Abraham began. Ruth’s life in Moab ended, and her life in Israel began. Christians are taught to put off our old selves and put on the new (Ephesians 4:21-24). And it all culminates in the greatest ending and beginning of all: Christ endured the cross and He is now seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Good Friday must have felt like the end of the end to the disciples, an end so final that no beginning could ever come from it. It felt so final, in fact, that instead of believing that Jesus rose a few days later, Mary Magdalene thought someone had taken His body: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2).

Yet what looked like a grave robbery turned out to be a resurrection. On Easter Sunday, the most horrific, final ending gave way to the most radiant, world-changing beginning: Death gave way to Life. Now, in Christ, we can claim a new beginning from the jaws of the most final ending. Now we can die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). Now we can hope for the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13).

Christ’s resurrection was the end of endings for those who believe in Him. Today, for every winter of barren branches and chilly air and gray skies, we can trust that spring is merely waiting to burst forth. That knowledge doesn’t invalidate the chill of the winter, nor does it mean that spring will look exactly like we imagine. It does mean, though, that there will always be spring, if not in this life then in the next. This is our hope: He is risen, indeed. 

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

–C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

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