Today is All Saints' Sunday in the Lutheran Church, a day when, among other things, we pause to remember those who have "gone home" during the past year. In his sermon today our pastor remarked that if we understood what our departed loved ones' life was now like we wouldn't wish that they were back with us.
We might add that if we understood what it means to pass from this world of space-time into "divine time" we might be even less inclined to wish them back.
Imagine the "cosmic" time line as a string draped across a sphere. The string represents all of our time past, present, and future. The sphere represents "divine" time which is in contact with every point on the string so that every moment of our past, present and future are in the present of one who resides in divine time.
That would mean that every event that has happened, or will happen, may well be in the present of those who have passed on. It would follow from this that, as difficult as it may be to conceptualize, our own death, which is future for us, is present to the loved one who has already died. Thus the reunion to which we look forward in our cosmic time is already occuring in divine time. We, in some sense, exist both here and there simultaneously.
More than that. If when one dies all of cosmic time becomes their present, then every death which occurs in cosmic time occurs simultaneously with the one who dies. It is for the dying person not as if they were going on ahead of everyone else but rather as if everyone is leaving this life and being born into this new existence together.
For us here on the string of cosmic time the reunion is still future. For those who depart and enter the sphere of divine time, the reunion we anticipate is in their now. For ages Christians have wondered when Christ is going to return for His Church. If cosmic time stands in relation to divine time somewhat as we've sketched it here then the answer may well be that Christ's coming will be at the moment of our death when all of the cosmic future becomes our present. The eschaton will occur at the moment of our passing and it has occurred at the moment of every death which has ever occurred.
Strange stuff, perhaps, but no stranger than what physicists are telling us about the structure of cosmic space/time and the world of the quantum. Perhaps truth, to borrow from a title of a book by Brian Walsh on a different topic altogether, is stranger than it used to be.