Scientists in Britain recently made a fascinating discovery. After centuries of mystery and debate, they finally located the body of King Richard III, who was killed in battle in 1485. The location of his grave was lost to history until February 2013, when DNA tests confirmed that they had indeed found the late king’s final resting place.
Here’s what I find interesting. King Richard was buried underneath a parking lot! What irony. A man who was once a king, commanding armies and leading an empire, now had a minivan parked over his head so a mom could take her eight-year-old to soccer practice!
The things that seem so certain and powerful in their time will eventually come to nothing. We humans are not permanent fixtures around here, and neither are the things we build—not even our armies and the empires they protect. Only God is eternal.
Outside the temple in Jerusalem, the disciples were awed by the impressive structure. (This may have been the first time in their lives that they had been to the Holy City.) Jesus said, “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another.”
Not even our religious institutions can guarantee the permanence we want. Jesus says this not to scare us but to point us to the truth. Only God is eternal. And only those who ground their lives in God will share in that gift.
Holy God, I confess that I try to ground my life in things that seem permanent. Today much of my energy will be spent trying to guarantee my existence. But help me to find my true life in you and in you alone. Help me to give myself to the tasks and the people that you put before me today, but help me to do so with an eye towards your eternity. Through Christ, the Eternal One, Amen.
This post originally appeared in Meditations on Mark: Daily Devotions from the Oldest Gospel by Chris Cadenhead.