Friday, April 6, 2012

Nothin’ Good Yet about It

The suffering and death of Jesus are significant because
this was the undeserved and gruesome death
of a great teacher of love and peace.
His suffering and death should symbolize to everyone
the undeserved and horrible suffering and death
that befalls anyone and everyone who is such a victim.
The suffering of Jesus was no greater than the suffering of every victim
of every crime and political execution and war.

Jesus didn’t have to suffer more than anyone else
for his death to have meaning for the rest of us.
Neither was the suffering of Jesus less painful than it would be for us,
because he was divine.
I do not think that Jesus wanted us to focus on his suffering,
but rather on his desire that we should all live as if God rules the world.

Jesus’ death was wrong.
This is a powerful statement because it means that the suffering
of all the millions of others who have been tortured,
raped, and slowly killed to suit someone’s desire
for power, control, and revenge that has occurred
in thousands of places and situations
that we could name or don't know –
their deaths were and are wrong, too.

Our traditions teach that Jesus died for our sins.
I see no way that his death atones in any way for my sins or yours.
His death, his spirituality, his religion, his God
were about active resistance to the uses of power against people.
Jesus died because of our sins,
because we want or consent to violence and killing.
There is atonement only if you and I cease to support a system
that does violence to people and kills them.

The teaching of Jesus that we would rather he hadn’t taught,
is to love our enemies.
The power of Jesus was his subversive way
of viewing the world, living in it, and dying.
The power in Jesus' death
was the great integrity by which he died for the values by which he lived.

When I ponder the death of Jesus,
I don’t see the end of sin as such
but a witness to the end of cruelty and torture,
the death penalty, war, killing,
and the end of violence itself.
If Jesus in any way died for my sin or sins, or yours,
he died so that no one else would have to die as he did.
If Jesus died for our sins,
and we wish to follow him,
we must renounce violence and stop the killing.

1 comment:

John Shuck said...


Thanks for these holy week posts and for presenting the work of the Jesus Seminar! Good stuff!