I was thinking about how Easter is all about our identification with Christ. It’s why we feel this reflected glory on Easter morning. But our identification is to be with Christ not just in His resurrection, but in His crucifixion, as well. And so while Easter is a celebration of our resurrection with Him, today and tomorrow is to be a remembrance of our crucifixion with Him.
Well what does that mean? We’re not going to be crucified, most of us. What Christ did was sacrifice. I’ve been turning over in my mind for some time now what that even means, and I think I’m starting to get it. Of course He sacrificed in that He knew we would eventually kill Him if He told the truth about Himself. And He knew that was necessary, so He could then forgive us. In that way, Forgiveness (love) wins.
If we identify with Christ in His crucifixion, what does that mean for us? I think sacrifice, but how? I think it means we’re to sacrifice in that we live rightly, self-disciplined and self-controlled against self-indulgence to make the world better for ourselves and for succeeding generations. It has much to do with that “time horizon” I’m always going on about. Jesus had the ultimate time horizon. We’re to live with our futures in mind, and in fact our futures beyond animal death: eternity.
But I also think it means living without contamination from the mob. Living with Christ (and sacrifice in this life with Christ as the object) as our guide, instead of the whims of the mob. Last week in my letter I gave in to some melancholy about the ravings of the mob, each member of which reinforces and is reinforced by those around him, so that the frenzy of the mob is greater than the sum of its parts. We follow the mob when we identify with it, rather than with the Christ crucified and resurrected.
We were in church today and some of the story up to the burial was read. I was thinking about how Jesus taught openly earlier during the week of Passover, but by the end of the week the mob had turned against Him. It was so sudden. That’s how mob outrage works. I think there is something essential here not just about the fear and hatred in our hearts, but about how it is magnified by reinforcement from the mob. I am influenced in this by Rene Girard. Jesus was the ultimate scapegoat, who demonstrated the destructiveness of the process of scapegoating by His resurrection.
The evil we need to overcome is the tendency to look to the crowd around us for authority, rather than to God. I’ve come around to thinking this is an essential feature of the crucifixion and resurrection, not just a side observation. The enemy of our ability to follow God is not just individual tendency to sin. It is tendency to identify with the crowd instead of Him, giving ourselves over to the savagery of outrage.
What do you think?