let’s get physical

Apr 4, 2024

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The gospel readings each day for this week of Easter Sundays (the Easter Octave) emphasise both the physical and the transcendent reality of the risen presence of Jesus.

And the timing is perfect for the launch of the FFF Fifth Gospel Project inviting you to send up to 400 words sharing a personal experience of Jesus. More at this link.

The opening words of today’s gospel emphasise the centrality of this story telling: “The disciples told their story of what had happened…”

Physical features (hearts, hands, feet, mouth, eyes) abound and emotional realities are strong (peace, alarm, fright, agitation, doubt) abound.

Notice again:

“They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.”

The stumbling point for many is that in Jesus God took a human body and walked and talked and ate and drank, felt human emotions and cried human tears and suffered human pain all the way to physical death. But in the resurrection the journey of human life to death becomes a pilgrimage of hope through death to the life for which we are created.

Recent years have seen a growth in virtual gatherings using Zoom, Teams and other online offerings. But it’s not the same. We know that what we are doing in front of a computer screen is not the physical connection that we need with others.

Christianity is physical. It is experienced by and lived in people with physical bodies.

Our bodies are a great gift – but when they tire, ache and no longer keep pace with our active and creative minds we descend into a battle with our physical bodies rather than listen to their wisdom.

Our bodies are speaking to us just as much when we name physical actions (especially sexual) as sins misreading our actions as problems to be overcome instead of as communications from our deepest self, signs that indicate and reveal our desire for the divine.

In the days following the resurrection of Jesus his disciples came to believe because they encountered by Jesus not in a way that was wishful-thinking or imagined belief, but physical, and in forms they could not explain, a presence that was much more than physical.

Let’s turn to Jesus today begging him to reveal himself personally, intimately and physically, that you might experience him physically, personally and intimately.

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Take an initiative and initiate a cafe table gathering, or join these gatherings:

Thursday 11 April 2024 10.00am  Stumble Inn, 200 Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. Joan

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10.30am. Harrisons Garden World Cafe, 23 Peka Peka Rd, Waikanae Beach. Catherine

Email me to add another: john@fff.org.nz

 

2 Comments

  1. Beautiful words today John – many thanks for this support and inspiration !

    Reply
  2. I met Jesus on Easter Sunday as we came out of a coffee shop. A couple with a shopping trolley with a couple of bags of clothes in asked me if I could buy them something to eat. I did so as I could see the Lord hungry and homeless.

    Reply

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