Once again, greetings from the Fairfield Inn, Uniontown. Yep…straight from the bathroom. Feet propped up on the porcelain throne (which I acknowledge triggers a certain degree of the ewwwww factor but we make do with what we have, no?) My much needed coffee is sitting on the counter by the sink. I told Keith yesterday that there is something that seems kind of vile about brewing coffee in the bathroom! What about actually drinking the coffee in the bathroom!! The overhead fan is humming away in an attempt to muffle any noises that might leak out into the main part of the motel room where Keith is peacefully slumbering.
I woke up thinking about what I wrote yesterday. I was also thinking of last night’s service with its total emphasis on the cross. I don’t know exactly what I think about the cross these days. I used to think I was pretty far out there to even see the atonement differently than the penal substitutionary theory that permeates our churches…and that permeated the sermon last night. I do not see the atonement as anything penal…or legal…or as payment to an offended God. I do not see it as balancing the scales. I remember running across a quote somewhere, in one of the many nooks and crannies I explore on the internet. I don’t have the source of the quote…nor do I have the exact wording….but it goes something like this
With love, the scale is broken.
Meaning, to me, that as the well known passage in Corinthians declares….love keeps no record of wrongs. So does divine love keep a record? Did God ever keep a record? Just who are the record keepers? We are. I listened intently to the message last night. Lynn Hiles’ ministry is mainly to the churches…to the religious folk who have been battered and bruised and beat up repeatedly by other religious folk. (which is not my story at all ) His main mission seems to be breaking the chains of religious bondage. For those steeped in the law, perhaps believing that Jesus fulfilled the law is the first step toward freedom.
(Digressing here a bit) Although I don’t see that Jesus fulfilled the old covenant law…He certainly did not keep every jot of the Levitical law. Thinking here of healing on the Sabbath, touching the unclean etc. etc. Or was the Law that Jesus fulfilled his well known summation of the commandments? Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbor as yourself.
The message last night focused so much on the cross that when it was over Keith mentioned that it must have rubbed me the wrong way. “No, amens from you.” There was a lot in last night’s sermon that I did not agree with…but I always glean something from just about every sermon I hear. If nothing else (as I’ve said here before) just hearing that which we do not believe clarifies what we do believe.
The legal view of the atonement just doesn’t do it for me. It does not resonate. But while I disagree with the legal view…the how….I do agree with the supposed end result ….that we have access to God, we are accepted into the Beloved, we are part of the body, there is no condemnation, our sins are forgiven. I do certainly agree with all that….and I don’t think Jesus had to “take the beating we had coming” to accomplish all of that. The breach between mankind and God is in our minds. God has always been conciliatory toward us. It is only when we heed the instruction to be ye reconciled to God do we reap all the rewards and benefits of the relationship.
I am not downplaying the atonement. While (as I said above) I do not have it all figured out, I do embrace it as an event of unparalleled significance….that by going to the cross he set creation free, (etc. etc) defeated sin and death, bridged the breach and showed us the way to our Father. I just don’t think he did that in a spiritual court of law.
And lest this drone on and on and on….this seems as good of a place as any to end the meandering. Your thoughts, of course, are always welcome…..