Peaches and Lemons


READ:  John 18:28-38a

“Jesus then answered Pilate’s question, saying, ‘My realm is not a kingdom of this world; if my realm were of this world, my followers would have fought to prevent my being arrested.  As it is, my realm does not belong here.’  Pilate said, ‘So, then, you are a king?’  Jesus answered, ‘It is you who say that I am a king.  I was born for this –  I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of the truth listen to my voice.’  Pilate responded to these words by saying, ‘Truth?  What is truth?'” – John 18:36-38a

And the Roman politician said to the Galilean preacher, “Truth, you say.  What is truth – how does truth come into play and who determines what is truth?”  (my paraphrase and amplification!)

What is truth?  And how does one come to know the truth?  These are questions often asked by thoughtful Christians, especially by those of us who practice the Benedictine approach to Christian discipleship.  Yes, what is truth?  And how does one come to know the truth?

Jesus taught that when the Spirit comes upon us, this Counselor will guide us into the fuller and deeper understandings of the truth.  Thus truth must be something both taught and revealed by the Divine Mind.  John declares that Christ came filled with grace and truth … and thus grace and truth are somehow intertwined.  Jesus also taught … “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” … and so, Truth must be embodied in the life of Christ and is part and parcel with a way of life to be followed and lived.

What is truth?

TRUTHOn occasion, the Abbot will gather the community out on the grounds of Greyfriars’ Abbey so that we might have our teaching time en plein air, the open air.  The other day, the Abbot had arranged for a couple of children to come visit from the school.  As we sat in chairs under the shade of a sprawling oak tree, the teacher brought to the Abbot a young girl and a young boy.  The Abbot had on a table a basket of peaches and a bowl of lemons.  He then asked for two brave volunteers to help him with an experiment.  Both volunteered with boldness.  He then asked each of them to take a taste of one of the peaches.  This they did quite readily.  Then he asked each of the children, “Tell me, what that peach tastes like?”  They both answered the same way, “Oh, the peaches tasted good!”  Actually, the boy said, “Good,” as he wiped the juice from his chin and the girl said, “Yummy!” as she rubbed her tummy.  The Abbot then invited them to taste a slice of lemon.  Being wise to the ways of monks and lemons, this challenge they met with far less enthusiasm, but “Bless their hearts”, they still mustered the courage  to take a bite which was immediately followed by sour faces.  When asked how the lemons tasted, they both answered, “Bad!”  With that, they were thanked and each given a fresh peach to take with them.

We all chuckled a bit at this demonstration, but then … the Abbot informed us it was our turn.  But before we did, he said, “Remember, this is a lesson on Truth, on its nature and on its discovery.”  So we took our turns … our answers to the Abbot’s questions were some the same as the children’s … some, a bit more creative, drawing on a greater share of the dictionary.  “Sweet, juicy, sour, tart.”  Words much like that.  When we had taken our turn, then the Abbot proceeded to teach.

Sometimes we think of Truth in terms of true or false.  Sometimes we think of Truth in terms of right or wrong.  Sometimes we think of Truth in terms of what a majority of the people decided to be the Truth; sometimes we think Truth is determined by the individual.  But Truth – as God defines the Truth – is in the peach and in the lemon.  It is the peach and the lemon who teaches us its Truth … by way of our tasting.”  (Folks … Abbots often talk in such ways!!!!!)

As I tried to process this teaching into my living, I came to realize that the worldly realm is one of opinions and persuasions, distortions and illusions, quick glimpses and first glances, preconceived notions and prejudices, selected virtue and overlooked sin, surface understandings and lazy conclusions.  But, in contrast, in God’s Realm, a peach tastes like a peach and a lemon tastes like lemon.

My loved ones, we, in Christ, are to be on a never-ending quest for clearer and clearer, fuller and fuller, deeper and deeper understandings of the truth.  We are not to be people of ignorance or superstition, we are not to be people trapped within limited understandings, we are not to be people driven by fears and prejudices, we are to be a people to whom clearer, fuller, deeper understandings of the Truth are continually being revealed to us by way of the Spirit of God.

What does a peach taste like?

What does a lemon taste like?

Go to the peach and go to the lemon … and let them teach you.  And in like manner … who is the Lord? … go to the Lord and let the Lord teach you.


Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)

— For the latest installment of the ongoing story, The Mystic Realms of Shadow Fox, just click …  … The installments are separated by ********* with the latest being at the end (obviously).

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