Saturday, June 11, 2011

GUEST POST-er: Jim Nielsen

Love Unfeigned

"omnia vincit amor"
Latin phrase from Eclogue X by Virgil ('love conquers all')

Christ was said to have "tread the winepress alone." 
However, we know that Christ wasn't fully alone while he suffered in Gethsemane, as an angel came -- strengthening him and offering divine comfort. So, if "aloneness" truly became part of Christ's complete descent below all things, it appears to not have been fully accomplished in the Garden. It wouldn't be until the pains of the cross, as Christ hung in agony with no angel to comfort and no Fatherly spirit to reassure, that his ultimate encounter with aloneness would occur.

In his solitary state on the cross, Christ cried out "my god, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?" Certainly no actions of Christ's merited such a withdrawal of God's quickening spirit... Is it possible that God's spirit was withdrawn as a natural response to the avanlanche of evil that fell upon our redeemer? It was in this moment that all the horrors, sins, and evils of Gethsemane returned, bearing their massive burden. It would seem only natural that God's spirit withdraw when the consequences of such dark, universal sin become concentrated in one single moment.

This ultimate concentration of universal sin in this last hour could most certainly have been what left our Savior without Divine support, to His complete descent... It was our sins, our actions, which placed the Savior in such an incomprehensible moment of despair, pain, and aloness. This withdrawal of the Father's spirit that left Christ in an utterly horrifying state of loneliness and vulnerability may not have been simply an item on the Atonement "checklist." It very well may have been the natural consequence of all our sins falling upon him. Thus, It wasn't God taking away his spirit per se, but rather the ultimate concentration of our sins driving it away.

Because my actions and choices drove Christ to a moment of so much emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical pain, I often wonder why he would even bother to help me? Would not both common logic and justice dictate I merit no such mercy or help? Surely I deserve everything evil that becomes of me, as I have chosen my own path and, as such, do not merit the help others, especially Him who I have so consciously wronged. Ask yourself, would you show patience, long suffering and forgiveness to those who caused you the most intense pain, suffering, and despair known in the history of the world? A pain so great that it caused "God the greatest of all to suffer and tremble"?

For me, a logical analysis of such questions holds no plausible explanation. The only answer that comes to my mind is encapulsated in one word: love. He helps us because he loves us. Not a romantic love, or even a human love, but an incomprehensible love that is divine. This love is a concept, an idea, a principle which logically makes no sense. It is justice, rather, that makes sense to me. It makes sense that we should all equally suffer for what the mistakes we have made...eye for an eye. We do not merit affection from those we have so evilly wronged; yet, seemingly illogically, Christ's love remains for those willing to grasp it.

Christ has an unimaginable love for us all -- a love unfeinged. He suffered so much for me, because of me, and why? The answer seems only to be understood in context of the word love. It is a word that, only recently have I discovered, seems as deply unfathomable as the atonement itself.

(thank you Jim for this post)

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