“Oh What a Faithless and Distorted Picture of the Human Being You Have!” given as a sermon by Rev. Michaël Merle on 8th March
In the gospel passages of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9) Peter offers to pitch three tent canopies (booths, shelters), one for Moses (the law giver), one for Elijah (the prophet) and one for Jesus (the master and Bearer of the Christ). Peter is moved to do this as a consequence of the vision of Jesus, transfigured in bright, brilliant, radiating white light while in a communial conversation with Moses and Elijah. Peter is drawing from a Hebrew tradition (a festival still celebrated by Jews to this day, Sukkot) and to the idea that this vision heralds an ‘end time’, a permanent establishment upon the earth which could call for a tent to be pitched and never taken down, a sukkot feast to end all feasts, so to speak. In his prologue to the gospel, John expresses the concept of the Word (Logos) becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us literally as, “The Word became flesh and pitched his dwelling tent amongst us”. The divine Logos (the Word) came to dwell on earth, pitching his tent here, so to say. This idea of pitching a tent as an expression for the earth as our home, allows us to see the earth as a wonderful, albeit temporary, dwelling place. Our life as human beings is not limited to the time on earth between birth and death. As much as this earthly life is representative of being ‘home’, this earth is our home, we are also only passing through, pitching our dwelling tent for a time, not building a permanent structure. Our true home is in God (in the divine existence). Our picture of our full humanity needs to recognise the seeds of our future spiritual development as present in us and in a process of development. We need to realise that our life is both pre-existent and post-existent (before our birth, and after our earthly death). What is our full picture of life and being human?
After the event of the Transfiguration, Jesus returns to the crowd and encounters the man whose son is moon-struck, a lunatic, and hence not in his reason. The young man is literally beside himself (and hence, out of balance), falling into the fire and into the water. Could these be metaphors for our desire to find initiation paths, the path of purification (in the cleansing fire or the cleansing water)? If we hold a true picture of the human being (with the in-dwelling of the Christ), then we can know that it is this relationship to Christ that makes it possible for us to experience a new path of initiation. He is our cleansing internal fire, the pure cleansing water of life. We are initiated into our fuller selves ‘in Christ’.
Rudolf Steiner reflected that the earth was created for the human being to learn the lesson of Love. Our new path of development in love is the path of Christ, who is the teacher of the love of humankind.
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