The Riddle at the Edge of Perception
In The Christian Community it is possible for servers to prepare and deliver sermons. This week we have a sermon from Alan Potter.
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-29
Dear Community of Christians,
In his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul challenges us:
If Christ did not rise again, then…..
The power of our faith in your hearts is an illusion.
This points to Christianity in its essence as simply the religion of, the cultivating of the community with, the risen Christ. In St john’s description of this cultivating of community, different stories are told. Mary Magdalen and two disciples finding the empty tomb and being deeply puzzled by this riddle. Mary returns and lingering alone, then encounters two angels, then in an inner turning meets the Christ. Christ appears to the disciples in the Conaculum, the upper room, and shows his hands and side. Thomas, who was absent, disbelieves and wishes for his own direct experience. Then eight days later Christ appears again and Thomas is asked to touch the risen Christ’s body as a foundation of perceived experience for his belief.
We can be deeply grateful to Rudolf Steiner that we can now begin to understand these stages of community with the risen Christ. From a questioning, a living with this riddle, to a slowly growing afterimage as a basis for belief. From intelligent disbelief to a step through perception and thinking into a supersensible experience.
To begin to understand this risen body of the Christ requires a true science of the spirit, which deeply understands the incarnation and excarnation processes. That before death the Christ so deeply inhabited his physical body that it, crystal like, could hold its form and life-forces without physical substance. This crystal-like vessel, purified of matter and filled with His life-forces can now walk before us.
These very individual pathways to the risen Christ are embedded in the different destinies of the disciples. In the words of the transubstantiation, we hear –
On the cross the body bears the new confession,
From the cross will flow the new faith.
Our physical body can be likened to a musical instrument which we play on the cross of our individual life’s destiny. When the peace can be with us, we can also begin to experience this great riddle on the edges of perception, these dawning after-images, this eight day’s journey from intelligent disbelief towards an awakened nurturing of community of heart with the risen Christ.
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