When all of our darkness and all that we believe to be light comes face to face—finally—with the One in and through and by whom all things were made, when all our good intentions are laid out and our best made plans meet the architect of the cosmos, when our internal “I am not” comes crashing into the Eternal “I AM”, all that bids us to say “no” to the beauty of love will forever be done away with and we will hence, “know as we are known”.
This is not an atonement theory, neither is it a specific hermeneutic. It is a declaration of the success of Jesus, not over some ideological “sin” as though God is somehow able to “fill all things” except the sinner, who still lives “in and through” God. The success of Jesus is neither a victory in a non-existent war, somehow playing itself out on a grand scale, as though divine creator were subject to the whims and will of time and mortality. The only “spiritual battle” is the eternal internal discussion with the self regarding value and worth.
This battle is the Armageddon of the soul, and each of us must face it head on. It matters not where the first shots were fired, be they an 8 year old boy suddenly feeling rejected by supposed Christian authority figures (myself), or the young woman who will never measure up to her mother’s impossible standards of beauty and her father’s continual rejection of anything “imperfect”. What matters is that we all have these shots fired at us continually. Not by some mythological “satan” (a character never given the power of omnipresence in the biblical narratives, and yet somehow able to be just that today), but by human beings, some well-intentioned, others not.
Our source of healing then, indeed our source of “salvation” lies in the recovery of that which has wounded us so deeply; namely, our humanness. To recover our humanity, we search for ways to build and affirm that humanity. The activities of a soul in search of its humanity are varied, and depending on social environment, religious upbringing, and a plethora of other factors, they “flesh out” on the (horizontal with no “correct”) scale from pastor to plumber to prisoner. In other words, it doesn’t matter where we find ourselves in life, the reason we’re there is because we’re searching for our humanity once again.
The only thing that grants us our true humanity, the only thing that beckons us from the halls of timelessness, what early Christians called the “gospel” is the risen Christ. A body raised in defiance of all notions of sacrificial bloodshed, the scapegoat has become the lamb and triumphed over death, not by fighting it or avoiding it, but by embracing it and declaring once and for all that no other scapegoat will ever be necessary, the goat has once and for all been delivered to the fires of hell and the Passover lamb has come bursting out of the tomb, once again filling all in all.