“Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

          IN THE PICTURE, Jesus is speaking to a Nazi soldier, whom it seems he has caught up with on a wilderness road. The idea of a Nazi soldier is of course a strong metaphor but it could easily be transferred to any other symbol of political, nationalist, religious or philosophical identification. At the deeper, spiritual levels, the conversation might parody the conversations of our inner lives, between our received and conceived egoic, worldly consciousness and the eternal divine in us. The soldier seems to have been marching, alone on this road. His steps still suggest the remnant of the march; there is still the vestige of the quickness of step, the straightness of direction and the largely unconscious, programmed adherence to its impetus. Contrast this with the openness and unhurriedness of Jesus’ movement. Christ has already disarmed the soldier and is carrying the burden of both gun and survival pack, the very things the soldier is programmed to believe he needs for his own survival and the propagation of his perceived cause, the mission of his programmers. There is now a slowing of the march, the right foot is drawn toward the Christ. He is listening to the Teacher, or confessing, or both. He is on the road to Life now, still in the wilderness for sure but there is yet light before sunset, or perhaps the new dawn is rising…

The weapon and the survival pack have been relinquished for now. Ahh… What relief… Bliss. But will the soldier ask for them back? Though Jesus will carry them and relieve the burden of them, he has not confiscated them. Will the soldier trust this newfound or re-experienced lightness of being, or will he wake in fear, like St Peter out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee, and snatch them back for fear of his life?

Christ’s offer of Life is open. Free. To accept the offer is to know love unconditional, cosmic, material, spiritual harmony. Do you trust it? Do you believe Him? Can such beautiful freedom really be what you, yes tiny little you, be made for? Can you give Christ your gun and your survival pack? Give it over, take it back, give it over… Huh?

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on June 26, 2017.

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