Eyes closed or eyes open?

eyes 3

The Aramaic word that most likely lies behind the English translation “commandment” is puqdana, similar to the classical or biblical Hebrew   פקודה  from a root פאקאד or paqad. “Fine”, you might say, “but why are you telling me this? The Bible has been translated into my language and that’s good, isn’t it? It’s called Reformation. It put the Bible into the people’s hands!”

Well this is true in many ways but it is still helpful to remember that Jesus didn’t speak English. His words weren’t even the ones recorded in the earliest Greek texts of the Gospels. Reading back into Aramaic, we might come across deeper teaching than our usual translations convey.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus is not all about giving commands or any dot to dot theology about God or human beings. Jesus teaches spiritual practice and direct experience of the Divine indwelling. Jesus’  word puqdana means something like continuous teaching. Meanwhile “abide (qawi) in me” refers also to a continuing of an intermingling with creative, cosmic, parenting love (huba) through which we are all created. Abiding in the Abba, parent of the cosmos, is a state all beings should return to at the end of enfleshed existence, but Jesus’ continuous teaching (words and signs for the writer of John) proposes that his disciples (students) do so consciously before their flesh passes away. In this way they will find the pure joy (haduta) that is in him. Haduta carries a meaning of welcoming, here, of an echo or vibration of our divine origin of which we are all unconsciously already aware. This is why beauty, music, the sound of the sea, art etc sometimes touch us so deeply. They remind us. Jesus’  continuous puqdana, so inefficiently rendered commandment, reminds us ever more deeply of who we really are.

Our calling is to contemplate the puqdana

until the haduta joy spills out and reminds others of the divine indwelling in them.

And so it continues.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on November 7, 2019.

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