Thoughts On A Violent Day In A Violent Age
by Brian Zahnd
Violence begets violence that begets violence that begets violence that begets violence…
…the cross is where the cycle of violence ends with the sacrifice of forgiveness.
All forgiveness involves sacrifice. Someone has to be willing to bleed and not retaliate.
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
It is in this sense that Jesus shed his blood as a sacrifice.
Jesus sacrificed his blood by foregoing his right to retaliate for the sake of forgiveness.
As long as justice is interpreted purely in categories of retaliation, nothing changes.
Divine justice is centered in reconciliation, not retaliation.
“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.”*
*Note: At the cross God was reconciling the world to himself, not himself to the world. Selah.
“Being disguised under the disfigurement of an ugly crucifixion and death,
Christ upon the cross is paradoxically the clearest revelation of who God is.”
-Hans Urs von Balthasar
At the cross we find a God who would rather die than kill his enemies.
But do we like what we have found?
Violence begets violence.
The cross is where the cycle of violence ends with the sacrifice of forgiveness.
“Take up your cross and follow me.” -Jesus
Do we dare?
(The photo is from a mosaic in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. I call it Big Love.)