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Often a picture does it best. I’ve seen reams written on “the six (sometimes seven) stages of life” and even run the odd workshop or two myself. I found this silent but eloquent expression on imgur.com.  The caption is a bit of a worry. That’s why I’ve inserted the question mark.

“Such is life!” These are the final words of Ned Kelly, Australia’s much feted anti-hero, just before the trapdoor dropped in Pentridge prison. Such, indeed,  is the fatalistic outlook that has been woven around his story.

P J Harvey and Peggy Lee ask “Is that all there is?” Take your pick! (I like them both for different reasons)

The implication in the lyrics is that we must look beyond this life to satisfactorily answer this question, and one might expect that I would agree, and because of my vocation, point to the Christian affirmation of “something better beyond.”

I prefer, however, to point to the possibility of fulfillment through each of these stages. It is evident to me that this is central to the kingdom talk of Jesus, who continually announces the “reign of God” was upon us (literally “breathing down our necks”). Live out his radical teaching of muscular and proactive compassion and lay these down as the building blocks of a wholesome community.

The “something better beyond” then finds expression through each of those six stages of life’s journey, whatever our contextual challenge, whatever the circumstances.