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). 

The Model of Union & Participation

Metaphorical Reflection:

A father lives vicariously through his son, such that when his son hits a home run in his first Little League baseball game, the Father feels as if he himself has hit the home run. We might also consider a male stem cell recipient who is renewed, restored, and strengthened by the transport that he has received from his gracious donor, allowing him to experience a new way of life—allowing him to, in a sense, live again.    


Christ, the one who stands in union and solidarity with and acts vicariously for humanity, lives a perfectly righteous life. In doing this, he purifies, heals, redeems the corruption of human nature. In his crucifixion, God in Christ bears the fullness of human evil. When Christ finally dies, he dies to the bondage, the power, the slavery of sin. In a profoundly mysterious way, through mystical solidarity with the human race that he so dearly loves, God in Christ conquers the power of sin and puts it to death in sinful humanity on the cross. 

The resurrected Lord now summons all things to newness of life. He has raised all of us with him. For his resurrection is our resurrection. This risen Christ has opened up the way to spiritual renewal and restoration. He has enabled us to share, to partake, to participate in his victory over the power of sin, evil, and corruption! The image of the resurrected Christ has become our destiny. In the process of our spiritual journeys, we are being dynamically re-created and transformed in the image of the risen Lord by the life-giving Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world to be our consummate helper (John 16:7).

Biblical Meditations: 

  • Rom 7:14-25 (the corruption of human nature) 
  • Rom 6:1-11 (spiritual participation in the life and death of Christ: death to the power of corruption; life to the image of Christ in the Spirit of God)
  • 2 Cor 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

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