Queen once asked the question, “Who wants to live forever?”
I don’t think I would want to live forever. Paul wrote that to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. So if I were to live forever, I wouldn’t get to see Jesus until his return. Now that could be tomorrow or 3,000 years from now. If Jesus doesn’t return until 5017, I don’t think I want to wait around that long.
No one is immortal, which helps bring significance to Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lent season and a day to remember our mortality. The ash cross is a reminder that our lives will eventually be ash and everything we’ve accomplished and gained will eventually be forgotten.
On the surface that seems rather depressing, but acknowledging our mortality can push us to make the most of the time we have. If everything is eventually going to turn to ash, then we should live lives that truly matter. We should live our mortal lives with eternal significance, investing in people and showing them God’s love.
Even though we aren’t immortal, here are some immortals who probably wouldn’t get much out of Ash Wednesday.
I haven’t seen many of the Highlander movies and only a few episodes of the television series. The first movie set up a great mythology of immortal swordsman trapped in a millennium-long struggle for power. They fought with swords and chopped each other’s heads off; it was awesome. However, Highlander 2 added a bunch of terrible mythology about aliens and prison planets. Perhaps the MacLeods ran with St. Patrick back in the day; in that case they might enjoy Ash Wednesday.
The Hobbits and Dwarves look like they have way more fun than the Elves and humans. Elves and humans are always brooding about something; Hobbits and Dwarves always seem to be partying and drinking. For all they’re partying, though, Hobbits and Dwarves will never outlive the Elves. I’m not a huge LOTR guy; I’ve seen all the movies and read all the books, but I’ve never read The Silmarillion. I’m sure there’s an explanation for the Elves and their immortality, but I’d rather just figure out how to hang out in Rivendell. Do they celebrate Ash Wednesday in New Zealand?
The Watchers are Marvel’s preeminent voyeurs. The Watchers have pretty much been around since the beginning of the galaxy, just hanging out and observing. Before they just observed, the Watchers actually interfered in the affairs of lesser beings. When that didn’t go well, they adopted a policy akin to the Prime Directive. Uatu is the most well known Watcher, breaking rank and interacting with heroes like the Fantastic Four. If I were to be immortal, I definitely wouldn’t want to be a Watcher. If I’m going to live forever, then I want to do more than watch people have fun.
If you’re reading this early enough, hopefully you have a chance to find a local Ash Wednesday service. I love the opportunity to begin the Lent season by reflecting on my mortality and my deep need for Jesus.
Who are some of your favorite immortals?