Whatever energy we don’t transform, we will transmit. That’s a phrase I first heard from Richard Rohr and it names a central challenge for all mature adults. Here’s its Christian expression.

Central to our understanding of how we are saved by Jesus is a truth expressed by the phrase: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. How are we saved through Jesus’ suffering? Obviously, that’s a metaphor. Jesus is not a sheep, so we need to tease out the reality beneath the metaphor. What prompted the first generation of Christians to use the image of a suffering sheep to explain what Jesus did for us, and how does Jesus’ suffering take away our sins? Was there a debt for sin which only God’s own suffering could cancel? Was the forgiveness of our sins some kind of private, divine transaction between God and Jesus?

These questions have no easy answer, but this much must be said: while some of this is mystery, none of it is magic. Admittedly, there’s mystery here, something that lies beyond what we can adequately explain by rational thought, but there’s no magic here. The deep truths that lie somewhat beyond our rational capacities do not negate our rationality; they only supersede it, analogous to the way that Einstein’s theory of relativity dwarfs grade school mathematics.

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