Our Biblical Blog /'Examined Life'
Our Biblical Blog /'Examined Life'
Jesus our Sabbath (our optional world)
Jesus' 'I am sayings' in John's Gospel seem to be overtly repetitive. One can be really puzzled, why does he repeats the same thing, or similar thoughts so many times? And it is in the present time: 'I am saying this to you', I am the vine and you are the branches...
One of the answers is that it wants to emphasise something crucial. Life with Him is different that life without Him.Or, in other words, this world, what we see, what we suffer from so much, which causes so much anxiety and uncertainty, including wars, is not the only world. Actually, the world we see, should not be as it is. There are many painful alternatives, but the Kingdom of God should be the true face of the world in which we live.
It is our choice, it is the fruit of our commitment and conversion. This is the fruit of being loved by God, and loving god.'' 'This [optional, fulfilled world] is a community that continually loves and learns, and the learning includes hearing, searching, questioning, seeing, believing, understanding, remembering, and knowing. "I have said these things to you while I am still with you." "But th Advocat4 the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." This is a community of continuous learning, a community that continuously loves and learns' (David Ford)
It is also, not accidental, that the them of Judgement is recurring. The Kingdom of God, in particular, when it is not brought to realisation, is a our judgement. In other words, the present world, if it lacks the Kingdom of God, judges us. We can imagine that this judgement is not too favourable when we see the war in Ukraine among us. Helping hands, food, hospitality if offered, will go in our favour. For we can speak of the 'crisis-face' of the Kingdom of God... The nations, and their silent citizens, who are pumping weapons into this war, will be judged unfavourably. The common good of the people, the right of citizens to have a decent living is just being sacrificed when our politics knowingly-unknowingly gives in the interests of the arm industry.
A third recurring theme at the end of John's Gospel is the lots of 'I'-s, the words of mutual indwelling. 'I am in the Father', 'you are in me'.
In facing our judgement, we understand, why it is so important. In order to live the depth of peace, joy and Trust in Jesus, we need a special sense. We need an eye for being with our Lord. This special ability is our desire and commitment to celebrate the Lord's day.
We draw strength and commitment from the Lord's Day, when we celebrate the Resurrection. Meeting our Lord in our worship, drawing on the Jewish appreciation of the Sabbath, we might say, that when we rest on this day, it brings 'a delight and a joy so great and so wonderful that to enjoy them one is endowed with a enshah yeterah, an extra soul.' This extra soul is a 'new access to the powers of appreciation.'
We Christians, we have this extra soul, or extra eye to see the Lord's day. We need this experience, as our 'daily-weekly bread'. This will nourish us to work on making our world a better place.... our life to be visible part of the Kingdom of God.
Let us celebrate the healing power of the Lord's day. Let us draw on this experience of the celebration of the Eucharist, that this day will be 'an experience of freedom', from the illnesses of the world, 'a day of detachment from the vulgar, a day of independence of external obligations, a day on which we stop worshiping the idols of technical civilisation, a day on which we use no money.' We should make this day so much dedicated to the Lord, and ways of resting with God and one another, to the extent that the external world should see it as 'Christian laziness'. When we witness to that God, our Loving Lord, with his day of the Resurrection, is all in all.
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These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..