The Gospel According to John – 2018.05.06
Names and Dualism
The Gospel reading for today is replete with confusion.
Set aside for a moment the fixation on names, they are meaningless. It is not the name of God, or the name of Jesus (a man from Nazareth whose name was not Jesus, but Joshua) that has power, or confers power.
There is no power in a name, names are accidental features of our identities and persona.
However, the notion that names had power in and of themselves was a popular superstition at the time the gospels were written, and it was especially important to other groups of Christians who were later prosecuted for heresy, such as the so-called Gnostics and Jewish practitioners of the Kaballah.
The Gospel writers but forward a lie, suggesting that Jesus had kept all of the disciples except one, true to their mission. This completely over looks how all of the 12 disciples abandoned Jesus when he was arrested, and the explicit denials of Jesus made by Saint Peter, not once or twice, but three times over.
It also puts forward the contradictory claim that the one disciple who betrayed Jesus, and therefore God, nevertheless did it for the sake of fulfilling the scriptures. Did the one who chose to be lost, choose it to fulfill the scriptures, was he compelled. The whole explanation is very murky.
The reading for the day doubles down on a kind of dualism that has dogged the Church from the beginning. It is important to note, that God is everywhere present in the world, God is the sole creator of the world, and all things that exist came to being and through God, God who sustains them in their being.
The church has rejected all forms of dualism in theory, in its philosophy, but not in practice or practical application.
We must finish the work, strip dualism from the liturgy, the scripture and every other place where it persists.
Father, keep those you have given me true to your name
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us. While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures. But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full. I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’
Sixth Sunday of Easter