Sundering Times

4 thoughts on “Sundering Times”

  1. All right, I really wasn’t keen on making footnotes, but I should say something to your question, so here goes.

    On one level, peaches are a Chinese symbol of immortality. The Monkey King in Journey to the West, in one instance, was punished for trying to steal the peaches of blessed immortality from the court of the Jade Emperor.

    Most basically I’m contrasting man to God, which I highlight in the alliteration between immortal and [mortal] man. The peaches, which can be taken as the fruit of the Tree of Life, must come from God and not from man’s efforts to win access to some Fountain of Youth, Juan Ponce de León’s Floridian exploration notwithstanding.

    But in the other sense of man, as the counterpart of woman, such a quest is particularly futile. If peaches are metaphors for human breasts from which come milk for the thirst of the human spirit, it is vanity all the more to seek them from Adam, because Adam never had milk to give.

    The dramatic irony about these words of the speaker is that immortal milk (that is, milk that gives eternal life and milk that does not end) does come from a man, namely Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for the new covenant in which we drink the wine of his forgiveness and fellowship.

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