Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Becoming a Disciple 4

It was said of abba John the Dwarf that one day he said to his elder brother, "I should like to be free of all care, like the angels who do not work, but ceaselessly offer worship to God." So he took leave of his brother and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When John knocked on the door he heard his brother say, "Who are you?" before he opened it. He said, "I am John, your brother." But the elder replied, "John has become an angel and henceforth he is no longer among men." Then John besought him, saying, "It is I." However, his brother did not let him in but left John there in distress until morning. Then, opening the door, he said to John, "You are a man and you must once again work in order to eat." Then John made a prostration before him, saying, "Forgive me."

Some thoughts:

I love this Saying. There are many attributed to or about Abba John the Dwarf.

Who else would like to be like the angels, free of all care, ceaselessly worshipping God? I would. I can't think of a life that would be less stressful or more blissful. And I really want less stress and more bliss, let me tell you. But the truth is, I am as yet merely human and stress and insufficient doses of bliss are my lot for the time being. Standing around the Throne of the Lamb and singing Hosannas is still in my future as it was for Abba John.

But the thing that I really wonder about in this Saying... why did John come back after a week?


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