Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Meditation: Hope, But Not As We Know It.

It's funny how in our more optimistic moments, both as individuals and as a race, we long for love, glory and freedom, yea even, immortality, but in our heart of hearts, we don't see how it's possible to have them all together.

What's more, if we have any hope of gaining any of those things, we can only conceive of obtaining them in a win-lose context.

What I mean is this: if I win, then you have to lose, or if you win, I have to lose. In this world it is always about winners and losers, never winners and winners. The rich get rich off the mistreatment of the poor. Glory for one means anonymity for another. Love for one, means rejection for another. Freedom for one means restrictions for another. Life for one, means death for another.

And what little we win in this win-lose life,
we lose in the end if we have not Christ.

The final duel in the matrix is a classic example of the limits of our most altruistic win-lose brand of thinking:

As an aside, the Matrix trilogy has lots of religious imagery, including Christian imagery. It even has has echoes of the gospel as mentioned before, but it's essentially Taoist in philosophy and therefore satanic in origin. I do like the way Neo becomes Agent Smith and in so doing, destroys him. In the same way, Jesus became sin and in so doing destroyed its power.

Neo saves the people, but he loses his own life in the process. From life inside the cage of this world, the highest moral good we can conceive is the win-lose kind - benefitting others at cost to ourselves - allowing others to win whilst we lose. Remembrance Sunday - when we remember those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the freedoms we enjoy, is perhaps the best real world example of this.

Jesus breaks in from outside the cage of this world and announces himself as a win-win saviour. Yes, he became on the cross, for three hours, the most sinful man who ever lived, and yes, in that 3hr window he soaked up the wrath of God for human rebellion and the curse that rebellion brought on the whole creation, but when it was all over, when the divine fury was spent, he went back to being the beloved Son. He passed through death to life.

At the resurrection, the Holy Spirit declared the Father's approval of the Son by raising him from the dead. In this sense, Jesus is justified - declared righteous. None of that sin, laid on him at the cross, stuck. None of the devil's accusations and temptations stuck.

Many a soldier has died only to lose his dream of a better life to another. Jesus is not like that. He died, but because he was perfect, he has been raised, and will rightfully enjoy the thing for which he died. That dear friends, is the kind of hope the world does not know.

All those who give their lives to him, will enjoy that same win-win delight, after passing through death. Christian hope is not for a place in the sun in this win-lose life, but for a place with the Son in the win-win next.

There's a place for you if you want it. Dare you take hold of a hope like this?

No comments: