Many are familiar with the words of Revelation 22:13 where Christ says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." When he speaks of the "alpha and omega" he is referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is sort of like saying, "I am the 'A' and the 'Z'." It is Christ's way of affirming that in terms of our life, He is the one who is with us at the beginning and He is the one who will be with us until the end. These are powerful and comforting words. But what do these words mean for us in terms our daily life? What do these words mean in terms of our response to Him? At least four things come to my mind...
1. Christ should be the one with whom we begin and end each day. It doesn't necessarily have to be a lengthy time, but we should spend some time at the beginning and the end of each day in prayer: Inviting Christ to be with us throughout the day and thanking him for His provision as the day comes to a close should be an essential part of our spiritual formation. In the Anglican tradition this is referred to as the time of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Personally I have found that if I begin and end each day in the presence of Christ, I also find that He is with me constantly through the course of my day as well.
2. Every decision should begin and end with a time of seeking Christ's guidance. As problems or concerns arise we should ask Christ, "How do I face or deal with this?" When a decision is finally made our words should be, "O Lord, Thy will be done!" Giving Christ the first chance to guide our thinking and allowing His "nudging" to be the final word will give us confidence in the decisions we are required to make.
3. Every ethical dilemma should begin and end with the question, "What would Jesus do?' This isn't just a saying for t-shirts or jewelry; it is a question for reflection and meditation. Often the answer to this question will alter the strategy we had in mind for a specific situation. The Wesleyan approach to godly living is to: Do no harm. Do Good, and Stay in Love with God. Looking to Christ first and last will help us in applying these principles to ethical dilemma's we face.
4. Every new life stage (beginning a new job, celebrating a birth or wedding, retiring) should begin and end with a conscious decision to make Jesus our Lord. Reminding ourselves that our life is in His hand is surly one of the best ways to assure that our life journey is an ongoing walk with Him.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," Jesus proclaims to us. What a wonderful reminder that He who call us is with us forever, even unto the end of the age.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.