In I John, the writer connects the reality of impermanence and the possibility of eternity.

All life on the material tangible plane is “passing away;” but there is another dimension in which we know we will “live for ever.”

the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever. (I John 2:17)

So seriously does Paul take this transcendent, eternal dimension of life that, that he describes it as having a body of its own.

If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:44)

Spiritual bodies, like physical bodies, need care and attention. We are accustomed to paying attention to the health of our physical body, but how much time, attention and energy n this life do we invest in nurturing our “spiritual body”?

When we are completely preoccupied with external form (schēma), we tend to be less concerned with our “spiritual body.” We become so invested in that which is temporal and “passing away” that we lose sight of that which is eternal. We become disconnected from the life that will never die. We lose touch with our true identity as beings created in the image of God.

His understanding that human attachment to schēma obscures us to the eternal realm that is manifest in this life, caused Jesus to say some outrageous things:

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

To take up my “cross daily” means to lay down my attachment to schēma. It means refusing to allow anything  but the hidden mystery of Christ to occupy the centre of my life. Everything I am takes shape around the presence and power of Christ at work in my life and in the world. This is the source of my true identity.

I no longer seek my identity in schēma. I find my true self in the the presence and power of God at work in my life through Christ.

Schēma  has its place in life. Schēma can be beautiful and deeply moving. It is the vehicle in which we know God’s presence and action in our lives and in the world. It is important to pay attention to schēma, to be responsible in our use of schēma and to do all that we can to keep schēma running in as healthy and effective a manner as possible. By his Incarnation, Jesus sanctified all schēma. But he did not remain schēma.

As they were watching, Jesus was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)

The schēma of Jesus was gone; but the presence of Christ remained. Christ was not confined to the schēma in which he was manifest for thirty plus years, nor are those in whom Christ dwells confined to their schēma.

I am not my schēma. My identity, my true and eternal nature do not reside in schēma.

This is why Peter counsels,

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. (I Peter 4:7)

Peter’s awareness that “all things” are coming to an “end,” means that nothing is more important than nurturing and sustaining the deeper inner eternal presence of Christ in his life.