I have recently been visiting the blog of a woman who has evidently encountered in her life (about which I actually know almost nothing) personal trials that might be filed under some of the same headings as a sampling of my own. My visits to her site have been productive, already having resulted in a couple of new poems. These you can find linked in the sidebar, under Rodak’s Writings.
What follows here is an excerpt from a book that I am currently reading, followed by a Simone Weil quote which I have cited before, but never tire of contemplating. Each of these seems--in my mind anyway--to relate to the thoughts and feelings which visiting the blog mentioned above has given rise to:
The idea of God reconciling the world to God’s self represents a departure from the prevailing understanding of reconciliation in Hellenistic-Judaism. There the standard interpretation was that the fall and the subsequent human sin has so angered God that God must be appeased. The human sinners must therefore take steps to reconcile themselves to God and to propitiate God’s anger. Against this background, the Christian creedal formula reversed the roles and understood God to be initiating this cosmic reconciliation. Furthermore, the Christian formula suggests that God effected reconciliation by “not reckoning [humanity’s] trespasses against them,” thereby canceling the debts of moral depravity humanity has piled up in God’s ledger.
~ Power in Weakness: the Second Letter of Paul to the Corninthians by Sze-kar Wan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Andover Newton Theological School
Wan elaborates on this point by quoting verse 18: “All things come from God who has reconciled us to himself through Christ." Recalling his earlier discussion that Christ had died for all (5:14-15), Paul reformulates the role of Christ as effecting the cancellation of the sinners’ debts by means of his dying on their behalf.
Simone Weil, by contrast, sees this reconciliation not as an outright gift, or as an end-in-itself, but rather as an opportunity. We are given the Cross; but then we must--of our own volition--take it up:
God wears himself out through the infinite thickness of time and space in order to reach the soul and to captivate it. If it allows a pure and utter consent (though brief as a lightening flash) to be torn from it, then God conquers that soul. And when it has come entirely his he abandons it. He leaves it completely alone and it has in its turn, but gropingly, to cross the infinite thickness of time and space in search of him whom it loves. It is thus that the soul, starting from the opposite end, makes the same journey that God made towards it. And that is the cross.
Or, we could just oil the pocket of our baseball glove and bitch about paying taxes. It is March, after all.