February 20, 2005

Difficult Teaching?

(60) …his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Perhaps this teaching is like a Zen Koan – a difficult riddle that is only difficult because of our paradigm, the way we try to figure it out from our narrow perspective. The way John words this entire scripture is a bit of a riddle – I actually think John is being playful with us. And the Gospel of John does entice much rich dialogue in us as we put our heads and hearts together to decipher this profound message.

I imagine Jesus had a twinkle in his eye when he responds (62) “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?” (Buddhists would call this ‘your original face’) “The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” This is God’s message – I hear Jesus (God) saying “don’t get distracted by the flesh – the human voice the message comes from.” Jesus’ words reflect the Spirit – and speak of the fundamentally true eternal life – beyond our personalities, our bodies, our “little lives”.


At 3:35 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Meredith :-). I like the Buddhist theme of your comments - did I mention that my sister considers herself a follower of Buddhism? You said ... ... the fundamentally true eternal life – beyond our personalities, our bodies, our “little lives”. I could be wromg about this, butI think according to christian tradition, people are supposedly going to be stuck with personalities and bodies, though hopefully not their "little lives" :-) - an interesting difference between Buddhism and christianity

At 7:10 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

That seems so right to me, Crystal. I've always thought the chief difference is that Buddhists want to dispose of the individual life we know while Christians believe your and my individuality is the great gift God means for us to use eternally.

At 7:24 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Very interesting. From my own perspective, I think we should be freed from our bodies, but our personalities? I would think we'd be refined of our insecurities and our ugly characteristics and then...would be individuals or would we be the same in perfection.

I like the idea of the flesh also applying to the mouthpiece from which God speaks. Would this be more of a unitarian view?

At 5:28 a.m., Blogger david said...

Freed from our bodies. What an interesting notion. As if that were even possible.

Were we made to be spirits and only got trapped in matter like some ancient wasp got trapped in tree resin to spend a 1000 years set in amber? Or were we made to be flesh and blood as well as spirit and soul?

At 10:02 a.m., Blogger Meredith said...

Re: the individual, the self, the personality and the body - there is much richness in this discussion. In my comment about not getting distracted by the flesh or the human voice - I meant to look beyond these outward details for the inner treasure. My body and what I look like is so insignificant to who I really am. Likewise my personality - it is only a small reflection of who I am at the center of my being. To look beyond self is to look beyond ego, to one's authentic self. And here, in this core of our hearts, here is the reflection of God, in each of you, just as it appeared so obvious is in Jesus.

At 12:03 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Well, kwake, I am a WASP and often I feel like I'm trapped in resin (ha ha).

Seriously, the idea of being stuck with our bodies seems unfair to me -- appearances can be deceiving and some people are bitter about their own appearances (they feel too short, or fat or not attractive enough, or they hate their thighs...). Also why some should be disabled or sick and others be well makes no sense to me, so I can only view that as a temporal factor from which we'd ultimately be freed. I am limited by my own perspective and my arrogance, of course. Frankly, I'd be happy to be stuck with my own physicality, but do I get to choose at which age, shave off a few lines and a couple of pounds, maybe go back to the late 20s? Its all too distracting to me, but thats my short-coming.

At 1:06 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

About having bodies in the afterlife .....

I don't know if we will and I personally hope we don't cuz I dislike my body, but biblical scholar Felix Just sj says ...

# Christians believe in the "Resurrection of the Body," not merely the "Immortality of the (disembodied) Soul"!
* even if our mortal bodies are buried or cremated, we will receive some type of "resurrected body";
* what that new body will be like is unknown, but it will be totally different from our present bodies;
* thus, "resurrection" involves the reunification of the spirit or soul with a new and immortal body.
* 1 Cor 15:35-57 - Paul explains that the spiritual imperishable body will be different from the physical perishable body, as a plant differs from a seed.


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