Tag Archives: supreme sacrifice

The Question of Atonement

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“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.