SEE THESE GREAT BUILDINGS?

pob clense

“…grant that we, having this hope (faith/eternal Life in Christ)
may purify ourselves even as he is pure” (today’s Collect)
‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down’ (Mark 13.2)

WHEN JESUS pointed to the finely built walls of the Jerusalem Temple and told his followers that it would all fall down, he may have been speaking literally, in prophecy, about the destruction that would happen there some 40 years later when the might of Rome would crush their nation’s rebellions, striking at the heart of Judaic consciousness, obliterating their religious place along with their ‘holy’ city. Many scholars and religious people have argued the case for this. No doubt there is truth in this and Jesus foresaw the physicality of it. Mark’s gospel moves quickly on from this moment, as Mark’s gospel always does. However, when John’s gospel reports this saying, the narrative doesn’t jump quite so quickly. John adds, “But when Jesus said ‘this temple,’ he meant his own body”.
The writer of John’s gospel wrote decades later than Mark (probably, incidentally, after the literal destruction of the Temple). John’s gospel is theologically much more advanced. It was written after many years of contemplation, prayer and reflection on the life and ministry of Jesus by someone who traveled with him, slept rough with him, lived hand to mouth with him, ministered with him and sat as a student daily at his feet. John’s is a mystical gospel, with a spirituality more east than west. John’s gospel understands Jesus not as a moralistic indoctrinator of Greek influenced philosophic but as a wisdom master, more Tao Te Ching than Athenian Academy.
John reads Jesus’ actions and teachings as “signs” or teachings about the nature of the kingdom of heaven, which , as Jesus taught all who had “ears” and “eyes”, is among us, within us, now, always. They are signs about our own eternal nature, unseparated from the Oneness that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christ is Son but he came to teach us that we are all Son/Daughter/Child of the Oneness. Mark gives us the action, John gives us the meaning. Contemplating all this opens us, as it did St John, to the purification of our souls we have asked for in our Collect this Sunday. We don’t do the purifying, God does it. But we have to provide the intention. Be still. Know God.

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on November 17, 2018.

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