Atonement, Lazarus Saturday & Holy Week

Last week at St. Bede’s we looked at different theories of atonement, how the death of Christ makes us at one with God. I am glad that Megan mentioned the Eastern Orthodox version; that the cross of Jesus is essentially part of his Incarnation because I think that idea is the one that resonates with me the most.

In Eastern Orthodoxy, the Saturday before Palm Sunday is called Lazarus Saturday because that day they read the story of the raising of Lazarus. That story has always been meaningful for me because of how human Jesus seems to me in it. He knows he is going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but that doesn’t stop him from giving us the shortest verse in the bible: Jesus wept.

I like the idea that the Holy Week story is not about Christ suffering instead of us, but rather of him doing that story with us; of him experiencing the worst parts of human existence, including the death of a friend. I find it comforting that the promise of resurrection does not mean we can’t be sad at the sucky things that happen. As we go into Holy Week this year, I have on my mind the Christ who would go with us in all of life, its joys and its sorrows.

Philip

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