The Banality of Holiness

“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. (Luke 24:36-43)

Greetings, Fighter,

Easter was almost two weeks ago, yet in today’s reading it is still Easter Day. A lot happened that day, including the resurrection itself, about which we know almost nothing. What we do know is that Jesus reconnected with different members of His team on that day – at multiple times and at multiple places.

There was something mysterious about the resurrected body of Jesus. He seemed to be able to appear wherever He liked, whenever He liked. At the same time though, there was also something very ordinary about Jesus’ body. Indeed, it seems that almost every time He appeared, He was looking for something to eat!

Today’s excerpt from Luke’s Gospel comes immediately after Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus where two of His disciples recognised Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:30-31). Now, back in Jerusalem, Jesus is recognised in the eating of the fish. Of course, the focus is not on the food but on Jesus proving to his friends that He is not a ghost. Even so, He speaks to them. He shows them His body, He invites them to touch Him, and He eats with them.

There is a very clear emphasis in these early Gospel accounts on the fleshly nature of the resurrected Jesus, and it’s something that reverberates in the early Christian community. One of the first things said of the church was, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,” (Acts 2:46b). It seems that eating and drinking were never just physical necessiies for these early believers. It was a part of how they connected, both with one another and with Jesus!

Hannah Arendt coined the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ after observing Adolf Eichmann’s at the Nuremburg trials. It seems to me that there’s a level of banality to holiness as well. Indeed, it seems that what Jesus’ disciples remembered most about His resurrection appearances was not that he was shining or levitating or doing anything spectacular, but that He was always hungry!

Perhaps the correct way to understand this is not to consider holiness banal, but rather, conversely, to recognise that in even the most ordinary things of life we can experience the Holy – finding ‘the infinite in the everyday’, as Kierkegaard would say. Simple human acts such as eating, drinking, talking and touching can be encounters with God! Our church fathers and mothers understood this, and I think that’s how the bread and wine of the Eucharist came to be recognised as elements that connect us both to Jesus and to one another.

Easter was two weeks ago. Yes, and Easter was 2,000 years ago. Even so, Easter is today! Now is the time of resurrection! Now is the time to reconnect with the body of Jesus. Now is the time to experience the numinous and the holy through the simple and tangible things of life – through eating, drinking, talking and touching, through love and laughter, through bread and through wine.

Our Sunday Eucharist

We had another wonderful Sunday Eucharist last weekend, and it was especially great to have our Muslim brother, Tom Toby, back with us after two months of international travel. Tom always gives us a perspective on both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures that we never otherwise hear. David Baldwin was with us as well, of course, and Dr Stephen Sizer contributed a wonderful, pre-recorded Gospel reflection. It’s all in the video below.

This week we have Father Mark back, along with Rev. John Jegasothy, who is taking Rob Gilland’s spot this week.

Rob is going to be spending time with his son, and we certainly don’t begrudge him that though we will miss him. We may also have Rev. Joy Steele-Perkins join us this Sunday and, if that happens, we’ll have our most heavily clericalized team to date – ie. four ordained persons in the same virtual space!

Join us from midday if you dare! You’ll find us at, or on Facebook , YouTubeTwitterLinkedInor Streamyard.

I look forward to sharing this Eucharist with you. 😊

Let me work your corner

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What’s On? 

Yes, it turns out that I’m still in Sydney this weekend. Peter and Pauline Trama have everything in hand at Binacrombi and I had no one booked in to join me so I’m staying put. That’means an extra training session at Legends Gym on Saturday for anyone who is keen.

As you can see from the pic at the top today, we are again building up our boxing team. They are a fresh bunch of fighters, and I’ve got a couple of beginners scheduled to start with me tomorrow. If you’re in the area and have been thinking about joining me, now is the time!

Keep praying for Palestine. I joined a march for Gaza last weekend, organised by a local group of Palestinian Christians. It was encouraging to see these Christians voicing their support, though why all church leaders have not been equally vocal, I do not understand.

Stay up-to-date on developments in Israel and Palestine via and through, where you’ll also get updates on our dear brother, Julian Assange.

I notice that US President Biden has said he’s ‘considering’ Ausralia’s request to drop the charge against Julian. Personally, I find this sort fo political posturing nauseating. If the man really had any concern for justice or for the rule of law, he would have stopped the persecution of Julian years ago. My guess is that he is hoping that Julian will quietly die while he considers his case. Accordingly, we must continue to pray for Julian’s health and strength. Lord Jesus, Bring Him Home!

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight, 

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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