These are just a few notes from yesterday:
THE NATURE OF ATONEMENT
Christology of solidarity: he suffers with us.
He suffers for us – for us the guilty
Those two sides go together. That he suffers for us is the reconciling part. He was given up for our sins and raised up for our justification. One the one hand the payment for sins, on the other hand our justification through the resurrection. Forgiveness of sin is a negative act which clears the negative things, resurrection and justification brings you into a new life, a righteous life. Both sides must proceed together. There is another partner on the one side we have the tradition of the justification of the sinner, reborn to a new life. But what about the victims of sin? Must we not speak about the victims of violence and injustice and sin? The victims are important, the justification of the victims is perhaps the first act. Because in practical terms, the sinners who have become guilty have always only a short memory if they have amemory at all. But those who suffered violence and injustices always have a long memory. So if you want to enter into the truth of your life, listen to the victims, because they can tell you who you really are and what situation you are in. Justification is of the victims first.
We learned this after the war as we listened to the stories of the survivors of concentrations camps. We heard about them, but as we listend the tstories of survivors, and looked into their eyes, we because aware of who we really are, the Germans. Same thing happened in the truth commissions in S. Africa. The perpetrator must listen to the vicitim. The VICTIMS MUST TELL THE STORY. Only then do we know the truth about who we are. This is one of the problems with our church, we have no liturgy or sacrament for the justification of the victims. They cannot overcome their feelings for revenge and overcome evil with the good. we don’t’ do that in our current ecclesiological practice. the victim needs to tell the story. They have the divine key in their hand to forgive. But this only happens if we take them through the process. The perpetrators cannot forgive their sins by themselves.
The greatest danger for me personally…is when suffering comes to become apathetic…don’t care anymore; don’t love somebody because this willl cause only pain. If you love nobody you will feel no suffering in relationship to other people. If you don’t love yourself, you will not feel your own death because you don’t care. I saw soldiers who became so apathetic that they don’t’ care about their own death or the death of others. They live in the service of death, not in the service of life.
We see the terrorists today have this same problem. Mullah Omar said, “Your young people love life, our young people love death.” This is a real danger (there is no deterrent). If you go into the love of life you risk disappointment, you must be ready to suffer on behalf of your compassion for other people. You must be ready to feel their dying and with their dying a part of your own life will die also and you must then trust that there is a new beginning and the resurrection of Christ.