Flashlight Fight

Continuing on from yesterday’s post I wanted to dwell on the joy-thing. I was on holidays for the last few weeks. It was great. We went to exotic places, we ate new foods, we swam in clear blue oceans. Well, we did none of these things but we did visit in-laws and spent a glorious week with three astounding people in a very deserted country cottage. One of the evenings we were barbecuing as the day was drawing to a close. We sat out under the tall trees through which a golden sunshine was warming us. We ate good food. We made stupid jokes. It was good. Good, good, good in all the meanings of that very fine word.

Regardless of how depressed your life has been, all of you have had moments strikingly similar to that- eating out with friends in a beautiful setting. It’s so pedestrian in its universality. But at a really dramatic point in the Gospels we find almost the exact same situation. Jesus has been killed on the cross of Rome. The Apostles had come to the only logical conclusion- that Jesus was not who he or they thought he was. But reports came from the women- I mean who would trust them!- that Jesus was alive again, not resuscitated but dare they believe it, resurrected. Thomas who they nicknamed Didymus (better or worse than Zoomtard?) refused to believe it. It was only when he was confronted with the wounded body before him that my patron apostle, the substitious disciple exclaimed (throwing a curve ball that the Dan Browns of the world will never resolve), “My Lord and my God”. The Apostles desperately want to get out there and tell the world about this epochal moment. The whole of history surely hinged and yet Jesus infuriatingly asks them to wait. Wait? Wait! After three years listening to his teaching, trying to be like him, after seeing him handed over and killed and now having seen him risen they still aren’t ready. So they wait for this so-called Spirit.

Angry zealous mobs can’t chase you out on a lake. Maybe that is why the fishermen Apostles decided to go for a trip on the sea of Galilee. After a hard night’s toil they approach the shore and they see a man on the beach. They don’t recognise him as Jesus. He shouted across and asked if they had caught anything. This bit always strikes me as weird since it is usually only freaky weirdos who interrupt fishermen they don’t know from their work. But obviously hanging out with Jesus has been good for the Apostles because instead of throwing him two fingers and turning away they answer and admit they have caught nothing. Jesus, who is still unrecognised says, “throw your nets over here on the right- I can never remember if that is starboard or not”. The nets drop in and suddenly tighten. There is a tremendous bounty of fish here. And the penny drops and it is Peter, who mutilated a bodyguard during Jesus’ arrest and within hours had denied him three times in public, and it is this Peter who realises who their curious consultant is.

He jumps straight into the lake and swims as fast as he can to meet his Master, in the moment, unburdened by the guilt and shame that hung around him ever since that dark night. The others followed and they saw that Jesus had prepared a fire.

Jesus is cooking. Jesus is barbecuing. Jesus is making them breakfast.

And in the sparse language of bios, the Greek biography that serves as the Gospel’s genre there was no way for John to flesh the scene out the way you want it. You want to know what they talked about. You want to know about the jokes that they told. Eight men, passionate friends who had been through so much, how could they not have mocked Peter for his enthusiasm as he swam those final 100 metres to shore? John doesn’t have time to tell us all this. Books were expensive, (even) for Christ’s sake! He has the amazing story of how Peter was embraced by the man he had rejected to tell. He has to paint what happened on the Cross in minute detail so that us dumb bozos drunk on 18th Century “Enlightenment” and empiricism can get the message. He doesn’t have time to tell me all the things I want to know because while there was food to be cooked and drink to be drunk and jokes to be told, the most important story was the bread, broken.

The Gnostic heresy at its foundation is that the soul is sacred and the body is base and corrupted. It is the heresy of all those cheeky chappies pretending there is a universe of “Gospels” that us Christians have tried to hide. Its world denying core is shared by Richard Gere pop-Buddhism and Madonna’s Kaballah-lite and evangelical joy-hating but it is a philosophical cancer on life. The Incarnation is the divine “NEIN!” to such vain attempts to create significance for ourselves. God sees it fit to humble himself and dwell in the world, constrained by time and space and hunger and grief and tiredness and puberty and all the other things I wish I didn’t have to grapple with. This God says “NO” to any suggestion that the Created order is the problem. He created it! He said it was good. You might often see the verse John 3:16 but you rarely see John 3:17 where we read,

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Take that Gnostics! Take that joy haters! The world is a glorious place charged with the grandeur of God, its glorious Creator. Its pleasures are worth disputing for.

Your Correspondent, Loves even boiled buckwheat

5 Responses to “Flashlight Fight”

  1. MG says:

    All those ‘NEINs’ and ‘NOs’ made me think that I was reading Barth, not Zoomtard! But to continue the German theme I will regale you with a quote from another famous German speaking hero:
    “In Christ we are offered the possibility of partaking in the reality of God and in the reality of the world, but not in the one without the other.”
    You get a prize if you guess who it is 😉
    I’m lovin’ the joy theme… keep it up!

  2. zoomtard says:

    Was he a german speaking martyr? 🙂

  3. MG says:

    Darn you zoomtard, you’ve foiled me yet again! There are bonus points if you can name the book the quote is taken from?

  4. zoomtard says:

    Its in his Ethics?

    Not Life Together, anyway.

  5. MG says:

    Zoomtard, I type in awe…