eating the dead

(7) Jesus said: Blessed is the lion which the man shall eat, and the lion become man; and cursed is the man whom the lion shall eat, and the lion become man.

(11) Jesus said: This heaven shall pass away, and that which above it shall pass away; and they that are dead are not alive and they that live shall not die. In the days when you were eating that which is dead, you were making it alive. When you come in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you have become two, what will you do?

I think we’ve had these two before in different contexts. But what strikes me today — after having lurked in the shadows for so long — is a common thread. What we eat becomes us.

Larry notes the parallel with IPeter 5:8: Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.
(NRSV). That may be valid (if so I would include Genesis 4:7: If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (NRSV) which doesn’t mention lions but is I think what Peter had in mind.

I’m slower to leap into allegory than Larry (I get there but more circuitously) and I want to stay with the image of our food becoming us. The lion becomes man when the man eats the lion. The man becomes lion when the lion eats the man. When we eat the dead the dead become alive.

And the blessing rests on that which becomes the higher when it is consumed.

I’m not altogether sure where Thomas wants us to take this. But the central rite of the canonically based churches is the rite of Eucharist wherein we eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood and so become the church the body of Christ on earth.

The end of the project seems to be apotheosis — or to use a term more comforting to at least some Christians — divinization.

8 responses

  1. Praise God, David; I love this post. You are what you eat, and this is not just in a physiological sense. We eat Christ (with the ‘sacrament’) and whenever we devote our minds to God (and God-work). It becomes who we are.And of course, unfortunately, we all too often eat the devil, ‘what will you do? We may avoid or at least minimize this when we become disciplined.Divinization! that’s where it’s at for me.

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  3. I feel like what follows may be a little too creative of an interpretation, but when you drew the comparison to divinization and the outward Eucharist, it got some gears turning on logion 7…For example: Blessed is Christ, the lion (cf Rev 5.5), whom “the man shall eat”, figuratively or literally if you’re a Catholic; blessed also is such a man who consumes Christ, the “lion become man” (or perhaps this refers to Jesus; or both). But cursed is the man whom the wordly “lion” (cf 1 Pet 5.8), shall “eat”, and the wickedness that is then incarnated in that “lion become man”

  4. Very interesting, David. As you know, there are divisions among catholics (and protestants too?) about the “true presence” theory, but I think most believe … when we receive the Eucharist, we ourselves are transubstantiated.And it reminds me of that book, Stranger in a Strange Land, by Heinlein – have you read that one?

  5. BTW David, I’m a few days late, but Happy Birthday!

  6. thats the best explanation for the Eucharist that I’ve heard — eating him to become him rather than as a memorial.It reminds me, too, of Thich Nhat Hanh advising us not to eat angry chickens but free-range chickens. I wanted to think it was crazy, but couldn’t.

  7. Thanks Crystal.I didn’t know that interpretation of Eucharist.

  8. There are so many ways to look at the lion. My head got a little dizzy as I contemplated this. It is like another riddle. I’m sensing that the lion is some power, such as our fears, our pride, or somthing like our big egos, and that if we eat them, like the expression “eat your words,” they are reduced, taken back, defused. Likewise, however, if a lion eats man, those things are all the bigger. Perhaps they become the kind of man that is angry, roaring, aggressive, etc. I love that part in Logion 11 where it says, ” When you come in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you have become two, what will you do?”This touches me so very deeply. I feel the poetry of this, the blessedness of coming into the light, merging with God. We begin with this sense of Oneness (as small children, undifferentiated from anything else) and then we become two – differentiated, separate. But in the spiritual life, we have that opportunity, that invitation, to become as One again.

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