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Global self-destruction and ME

On one of the days, he [Jesus of Nazareth, c. AD 30] got into a boat – and his disciples - and he said to them, “Let’s go across into the beyond of the lake”, and they set out. In fact, during their sailing, he fell asleep and a whirlwind of tempest threw itself down into the lake, and they were completely filled with water and were imperilled. In fact, having come near, they awakened him, stating, “Chief! Chief! We’re self-destructing!” In fact, he was awakened and he censured the tempest and the swell of the water and they self-ceased, and it became a calm. In fact, he said to them, “Where - your faith?” In fact, having been scared, they marvelled, stating to one another, “Who then is this-one, inasmuch as he commands even the tempests - and the water - and they submit to him?” (Luke 8: 22)
The extract in bold above is from a biography of Jesus of Nazareth written by a physician named Luke in the first century AD (or CE if you prefer). The translation from the original Greek is my feeble effort at accuracy of meaning.

Notice, first, the ambiguity of Jesus’ first statement as recorded by Luke. “Let’s go across into the beyond of the lake.” Through the ambiguity, through the parallelism in fact, this incident could well be an event to teach Jesus’ disciples that, in their journey to the beyond of everything, there will always be massive upheavals in our lives, massive disasters and multiple deaths. Just as the Russia – Ukraine war is demonstrating daily. As well as everything around us.

In addition, and amidst these agonies, Jesus is asleep, giving every appearance of not caring about self-destruction or self-destructive forces in this world of his creation.

The disciples of Jesus awaken him with a searching and desperate question. “Chief! Chief! We’re self-destructing!” Why did they say “self-destructing”? They didn’t say, more simply, ‘we are being destroyed’. No, they said “self-destructing.” (They, and Luke, used a Greek verb voice – middle voice – along with the present plural tense of the verb apollymi ‘to destroy’: literally, ‘we are destroying ourselves.’)

It's not only the war in the Ukraine. It’s also climate change. And plastic pollution. And many national leaders like Putin. And, most of all, it’s the ME within me. The ME that won’t give way, that is obsessively totally determined not to suffer at all in any way – personally. “Chief! Chief! We’re self-destructing!”

Did the disciples do the right thing when they awakened Jesus? The very first thing he did was to show them all – unequivocally – that he was, had been and always will be, chief. No question.

That does not mean that “whirlwinds of tempest” won’t shake (even destroy) our own “lakes”. I think they will. After all, I’m not going to be able to avoid the death which comes to every human being. And, when, after having the reply “I’m good, thanks” to my question, “how are you?”, I then ask (as I do sometimes), “So you don’t wish to change anything?”, there isn’t a single soul who has said to me, “No, all, all is well.” “There’s not even a ripple on my lake.” 

And what about "the beyond of the lake" - "the lake's beyond"?

Earth isn’t heaven, is it? It seems earth is coming closer to being hell. Can we rise above it on our own? Or do we need a rescuer from self-destruction? A rescuer from "beyond"?

How capable does that rescuer have to be before we have faith in him? Is it enough if he, on earth, was full of righteousness, grace and mercy – and then rose from the dead having allowed himself to be killed so he could forgive his killers? 

If the incident in bold above isn’t enough, is it worth looking at the remainder of Luke’s biography? 

Sinner Syvret

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