living in a post-atonement reality

 If you have ever read a good book, one of those one’s that draw you in and makes you want to turn the corner and every page to find out where the journey takes you, than you would probably not want to stop reading halfway through and never get to the end because the riveting parts that keep you coming back for more are waiting for you on the last page. This is a bit like how it might be with the atonement. The atonement is this idea within Judaism (and some other ancient tribal religions) that the God you follow requires some sort of retributive sacrifice to appease their frustration with their creation or to demonstrate a personal act of commitment. (I know I have given ’skimming the surface’ definition, but for the sake of conversation I hope we can use the above). For those who say we follow in the way of Jesus, to simply spend all our energy focusing on the act of atonement would be a very insufficient approach to bad reading skills if we use the above metaphor as the foundation. So, either we aren’t interested enough in finding out what happens at the end of the book, or because we know what happens at the end of the book (e.g., Christ’s resurrection, the restoration of all mankind, us living out our full potential, and the earth being fully restored to name a few) we have become too comfortable with the story. But the story of Jesus, as recorded by some of his followers informs us that Christ’s life didn’t end with his death. That Christ’s life draws us all into more life because of the act of his resurrection. And that moves us all into a new reality where we get to now live out his resurrection rather than his death. If we take the death of Jesus as the reality we subscribe to, then are we saying we would rather prefer to bring death rather than rebirth or new life into the lives of people and situations? One might respond by saying that the death of Jesus was about sacrifice and so his act brings us into a reality where we sacrifice for the good of all mankind and when we come into situations we find ways to sacrificially love our neighbours (this isn’t to say that the death of Jesus didn’t/doesn’t have any importance, this is offering a different perspective on it). I think this might be a good place to start but might be insufficient because the life of Jesus also brought hope, love, grace, healing and a new reality anyone could join in on. And it is the act of his coming back to life that reinforce all these points. If we can find a way to couple the two events rather than separating than this more holistic approach might bring about more freedom of creativity in how we dialogue with people as well as for us seeing the story as less fragmented and more hopeful and less macabre. The story of Jesus also doesn’t end with his coming back to life, his story is still going, so should our accounts of him and our own movement as those who follow reflect this same kind of ethos?? Sometimes people don’t need you to sacrifice things on their behalf, most of the time they need you to bring them hope, embrace, acceptance, justice and restorative redemption. This happens through an action, not an act of submission and this is the difference between the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. One is about submission and the other is about action. And so, maybe we can come to a place of submissive action that seeks to create new world where hope, justice, faith and love live and breath freely like next-door neighbours who’ve known each other for years. This would be a good place to start if we want to live in a post-atonement reality. Let’s agree that it might be a bit morbid to spend all of our energy focusing on a death when the story doesn’t end there. It would be like criminal investigators scouring a scene after all the evidence of the crime has been taken. (Not that the death of Jesus or resurrection has any similarities to a crime, just a metaphor.)….but if we can come together and choose to live in the post-atonement reality the world might just become a better place to live where wholeness, restoration, grace and peace can dance together in simple unison while we are the one who are the benevolent kingdom givers and livers.

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