10 April 2012

The Flesh of Christ Is Spirit and Life

On the one hand, you are tempted and prone to idolize the flesh, whether as a child craving toys or candy or dessert, or as an adult craving food and drink, material wealth, cars or clothes or sex.

On the other hand, you find out early how fragile, fleeting, and unreliable the flesh is. As a child you know hunger, discomfort, and pain. You know accidents and ouchies, punishment, weakness, and inability. As an adult you know your many inadequacies, failures, aches and pains, wounds and scars, missed opportunities and fading glories.

It is all the evidence of sin and death.

In sin did your mother conceive you, and death has been your stalker ever since.

Such is the foolish irony and paradox of sin: It idolizes the flesh, but brings death upon it. That is what you have experienced and learned to know and expect. You love the flesh, but it dies.

So you are driven by this constant appetite and hunger, of the flesh for the flesh, but you do not trust the flesh, neither your own nor that which you idolize.

You cannot help yourself. You make a false god of it, but you know it is dying; and so are you.

It seems the height of piety and spirituality, then, to disavow and avoid the flesh. To deny and deprive your own flesh of pleasure, and to despise the pleasant things of creation. That seems good and right and spiritual, because it seems to be what the Law requires.

For the Word of the Law is harsh, and it threatens you with deadly fire. It would strip you of all things, consume your clothing, and destroy your flesh. So fierce is the Law that no one can draw near to it without being killed.

But now, all that has been written in the Law, all that it demands and requires, has been fulfilled and satisfied in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. He has suffered and died in the flesh, cursed and crucified by the sins of the world, and yet, God raised Him from the dead — bodily.

His flesh did not suffer decay.

He has a body of flesh and bone, with blood and sinew, lips and teeth and tongue and stomach.

He bore your sins, and the sins of the world, in that Body, even unto death upon the Cross, and God raised Him bodily from the dead — in the flesh.

His flesh, then, is Spirit and Life.

This One, crucified and risen, is the Christ: anointed by the life-giving Spirit in His flesh. Therefore, genuine piety and true spirituality derive from, depend upon, and live in His Body.

He has entered the fire with you and for you, this Son of God in the flesh, so that you are spared from death and suffer no harm. The Law cannot touch you or have any effect on you, because it is already satisfied by Christ. He is your God in the flesh, who has conquered death forever.

As you eat and drink with Him, the food of His flesh and blood, you are begotten of God in body and soul, and you live in Him, unto the resurrection of your body and the life everlasting.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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