Today’s Readings: Psalm 12; Nahum 1:1-13; Matthew 19:13-22; 1 Peter 1:13-25
Like many progressive Christians, I struggle with knowing what to do with the traditional language of atonement theology. By that I mean I struggle to know what to do with words that suggest Jesus was a blood sacrifice offered in order to make up for humanity’s sin - language such as that contained in today’s passage from 1 Peter that reads: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19 from The Message).
I struggle with the “blood” language because I can’t help but resist the notion that the only way God could take God’s relationship with humanity to a new level was through such an act of sheer brutality.
As I sat with my resistance to atonement theology today in my time of centering, I began to experience the word “blood” in a new way. I began to think of it not as a ticket meant to be cashed in to purchase one’s redemption but rather as the ultimate expression of Jesus’ love. It is that love that takes me to another level of awareness/being in my relationship with God.
That means I read the culminating words of 1 Peter 1:18-19 as: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the previous [love] of Christ”. That’s where I can find value in such words.
Enough of my ramblings about this thing called atonement theology. How do you view it? That’s a question that should keep you engaged throughout the day. Til next time…