Saturday, April 7, 2007

Were You There?

"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"
African American Spiritual

Since reading Gerhard Forde (...and Paul) (...and a little bit of quantum physics), the question in this song has new meaning for me.

Paul writes in Galatians “I have been crucified with Christ” The same thought is expressed in Romans (“We were therefore buried with him”) and Colossians (“having been buried with him”). Metaphorical expressions? Or were we really there -physically, metaphysically, spiritually, mystically, or some other way our adverbs can’t fully explain?

If we do not take Paul’s wording as mere metaphor, the answer to the song’s question is a resounding “Yes, we were there!” All mankind was there. Somehow, mysteriously (to us), the incarnation of Jesus put God in communion with humanity in such a way that he made it possible for us to be with him in his death. This is how our sin-filled nature was vanquished, and also how we received a righteous new life in the resurrection.

Forde calls this “getting caught in the act.” We participated in the crucifixion. On the one hand, we were there to crucify Jesus. On the other hand, we were also there being crucified with him. Impossible? Makes no sense?

While Einstein scratched the surface on the relativity of time, quantum physics is just now beginning to understand how matter can be in two different places at once. Beyond that, the scientific study of consciousness (including consciousness that transcends time and space) opens up possibilities that heretofore seemed far-fetched. Perhaps science itself will eventually be capable of substantiating our presence with Jesus at the cross. One day every knee will bow - even the knee of science.

In the meantime, faith is all we have.

And faith tells me, "We were there."


Dan at Necessary Roughness said...

Heh, interesting question. I answered recently that my sins were there, even if I didn't witness it myself. :)

Anonymous said...

Capon calls the crucifixion the visable outcropping of the Mystery that is going on everywhere and at all times. The Lamb of God was slain before the foundations of the world.

That we too may come to the picnic
With nothing to hide, join the dance
As it moves in perichoresis
Turns about the abiding tree