St. John’s Contemplative Gospel – Abiding (Chapters 15 – 16)

St. John was a contemplative.

Abide in me as I abide in you.  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine…

It’s a fact, life means abiding in Christ.  That word, abiding – dwelling – has a restive quality to it.  It’s not simply a physical address.  It’s not a place to just come and go from.  It’s not a storage facility where you keep stuff.  No.  It’s a economy all of its own.  An economy of intimacy.  An economy of peace.  An economy of shelter.  An economy of love, which means self-forgetfulness, which means truthfulness, which means trust.

Interestingly enough, this peaceful, restful intimacy will in and of itself serve as a lightning rod for persecution against it (15:18-27, 16:1-6, 20-22).  But it has its own justification of being.  The Spirit justifies its reality, its simplicity, its beauty (15:26-27).  And this contemplative, mystical reality judges those who have no notion of this…those who live with the spirit of the world (16:9-11).

It’s ironic that something so basic to common human identity is ground under foot in favour of people’s self-promoted fantasies…which even includes twisting the Gospel of St. John itself to fit enculturated notions of Christian self-promotion and ego and churchly ‘advancement’.