“This is a lovely holiday,” clucks Babs in Aardman’s ‘Chicken Run’, the chickens having miraculously escaped from the ‘chicken pie’ farm. “I’ll be sad to go back”. What she experiences as a holiday is in fact her new permanent paradise, not just a temporary break. In contrast, our perception of life seems to be the other way round. We imagine that our finite time in on this earth is the entirety of our existence.
Whilst it is stretching an analogy to describe this life – or this physical period of our life – as a ‘holiday’, there is something to ponder in the comparison. Our time on earth is a temporary thing. May that thought in itself inspire us to choose wisely in our little lives. We don’t need to have that much freedom to make far-reaching choices. Mother Teresa of Calcutta told of giving a destitute woman a bowl of rice for her family. The starving mother immediately poured half the rice into a bowl and took it next door to give to a hungry family of a different faith. What love and wisdom–to recognise that the life of a different other is as sacred and valuable as our own. As Jesus taught, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
There is a big picture, in which our small yet significant selves play a role more dramatic than we probably realise. Each of us, as we make history with each choice, is part of what Tolkien described to C. S. Lewis as ‘His Story’ – the cliff-hanger of the Creator. Will we ultimately find our way home to inherit that for which we are created and destined by the One who loves us most–the union of our eternal soul with God? Or will we drift off the cliff edge of life, left to lostness?
Whilst the choice is ours, we can’t really save ourselves, just as chickens can’t fly. We are stuck by our woundedness, our addictions, and our attachment to this little, limited life which will inescapably end. We need amazing grace to sacrifice this short-lived selfish self in order to exchange it for a sanctity that will shine beyond this temporal state, to make this earthly visit a ‘Holy-day’, to prepare for our party in Heaven. This is why we must pray, “Heaven help us!” as Ginger did as she strove to free the imprisoned, earth-bound birds. And Heaven will help us.
“For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that we may not perish, but may have eternal life.”( John 3:16)
Let us not be “sad to go”, but let us live our lives, by the grace of God come to us in Christ, in such a way as to be able to look forward to eternal bliss, eternal love, eternal joy, and many merry meetings in Heaven.
Here is a prayer you can make your own. You are invited to make it from your heart; for your soul.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your beloved Son, Jesus, to show your love for me and to bring me back to you.
Lord Jesus, in dying for me you took on yourself all my sinfulness, and brokenness, so that I would know your complete forgiveness, be healed, and made whole in you. I renounce evil and the kingdom of darkness. I repent of all my sins, and I turn my back on everything that stands between us.
Be first in my life, which I now commit to you. Help me to walk with you in your kingdom of light, and enjoy fullness of life, which you came to give me.
Holy Spirit, you bring me to new life. Please open my heart so that I may live in all the power and joy of your love, to the glory of my Father in heaven.
Come Holy Spirit!”
 Adapted from a Youth 2000 prayer card