Good Friday Meditations- Christus Victor

Good Friday Meditations: Christus Victor

Today’s meditation on the atonement of Christ, like our first reflection in this series, confronts the universal problem of evil, pain, and suffering. Whereas our first model dealt with human suffering on a personal and individual level, our model today deals with suffering on a universal and cosmic level.The focus here is on both corporate evil (large-scale injustices, oppression, violence, coercion, greed, exploitation) and natural evil (disease, sickness, natural disasters, hostility in the animal kingdom). Christus Victor was the predominate model of the early church, and it is emphasized throughout the writings of the New Testament.


Good Friday Meditations- Union & Participation

Good Friday Meditations: Union & Participation

Our fourth contemplative reflection upon the atonement of our Lord tackles the problem of universal human corruption. We have intentionally started with models that highlight the lavish grace of God so that we can then introspectively move towards the Christian call to a holy and righteous life in Christ. This is the sequence that is repeated in the various letters of the Apostle Paul. The model that we are meditating on today can be traced back to St. Irenaeus, who elaborated on the idea that Christ recapitulated all things in his work of redemption (Eph 1:10). 


Good Friday Meditations- Loving Sacrifice

Good Friday Meditations: Loving Sacrifice

Our next Paschal reflection follows along the same path as our previous meditation. In fact, for some Christian traditions, this understanding of the atonement serves as an alternative, or replacement, for the model upon which we just reflected. Consequently, the human problem remains the same here: the universal experience of guilt. The sacrifice model is probably the most popular and most common conception of the atonement found throughout the history of the church, and it is the central theme of the book of Hebrews.  


Good Friday Meditations – The Selfless Substitute

Good Friday Meditations: The Selfless Substitute

Our second contemplative reflection on the atonement of Christ revolves around the universal human experience of guilt. This model was popularized by the Protestant Reformers, but nascent forms of it can be seen in some of the Early Church Fathers—like in the writings of St. Augustine, for example. In Scripture, this view of Christ’s atoning work is most clearly presented in the book of Isaiah and the various epistles of Paul. 


Good Friday Meditations – Suffering Love

Good Friday Meditations: Suffering Love

Our first introspective reflection on the atonement of Christ deals with the problem of human pain and suffering. This atonement model was developed in the 20th century, though traces of it can certainly be found throughout the history of the church and also—as we will see—in both the writings of the prophets and the apostles. In some sense, it found its fullest and clearest expression in the midst of the horrors of World War II, as many of the 20th century theologians who advanced this understanding of the atonement (like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for example) were directly shaped and formed by the terrors of the holocaust.


Good Friday Meditations – Intro

The cross of Christ and his resurrection from the dead lie at the very heart of the Christian faith. Christians all around the globe prayerfully meditate on the meaning of these awe-inspiring events during the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. This is a time, a season, to introspectively reflect upon the significance of the atonement of Christ. Atonement (“at-one-ment”) is about reconciliation. This means that the cross of Christ and the resurrection of our Lord have to do with God’s cosmic plan to reconcile the world to himself:
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:14-19)