Doing the Math on ‘Our’

Doing the Math on ‘Our’ April 18, 2013

Melanie Bettinelli has been running a series of guest posts on the Credo for the Year of Faith.  Each week, a Catholic writer writes an essay on one phrase in the Nicene Creed.  Today, I’m up discussing “For Our Sake.”  I’ve excepted the first few paragraphs below, but you can read the whole thing at Melanie’s blog:

The our in the Creed is a terrible temptation to me.

When people talk about the sacrificial love of Christ, I have a tendency to start doing math. Well, if it was for all of our sake, Christ saved an astounding number of people through his crucifixion. In fact, he saved more people than I can try and picture (even with Knuth Paper Stack Notation). The current population of the United States is over three hundred million. I can write that number down, but I can’t get an intuitive picture of how many people that is. And I can’t actually differentiate it from the number of people in the world (nearly seven billion) or the number of people who have ever lived, let alone the number of people who will have ever lived. It’s an unreasonable number.

Which starts to make Christ’s love feel reasonable.

And as I’m wondering all this, I’ve managed to shrink myself to invisibility in the the great throng of people washed in Christ’s blood. If we’re spreading out his sacrifice among all of us, I’m hardly redeemed by his death. Once we average it out, I can’t lay claim to more than one thorn-puncture. And, honestly, I’m more one platelet in that wound than the wound itself.

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