During the month of May we watched the 1988 screen adaptation of “The Last Temptation of Christ”, published in 1955 by Nikos Kazantzakis. At the time of publication the book was banned by the Catholic Church and Kazantazakis was excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Church.
The outrage the book and film generated years ago did not enter into our discussion. We didn’t need to declare our belief or disbelief in the details of the story Kazantazakis put forth. Rather we tried to make sense, as stated in the books’ preface, of the fully human, fully divine Jesus.
“The dual substance of Christ—the yearning, so human, so superhuman, of man to attain to God or, more exactly, to return to God and identify himself with him-has always been a deep inscrutable mystery for me.”
As Christians we affirmed our effort and longing to be at one with God while living in our very human bodies.
“Struggle between the flesh and the spirit, rebellion and resistance, reconciliation and submission, and finally—the supreme purpose of the struggle—union with God; this was the ascent taken by Christ, the ascent which he invites us to take as well, following in his bloody tracks.”