Christ, Redeemer and King

1,

On Palm Sunday, Yeshua the Christ is addressed as ‘Redeemer and King.’

This is entirely accurate, in terms of what Jewish tradition repeatedly says about the Mashiach. The Jewish prophetic tradition describes the Messiah as Redeemer, and as a King in the lineage of David.

Only as a king does the ‘Anointed of God’ bring righteousness and redemption.

2,

Though the mob shout out that Yeshua the Christ is a prophet, once the ordeal of the Passion is underway, he is in reality not a prophet; the prophets have foretold him, but he is much more than any of them. By definition, he can exercise several of the prophetic powers, such as ‘searching out in depth’ the heart of God and the heart of humanity, foreseeing future historical events, and declaring the heart truth by which people stand or fall down, and other such things, yet to confine him ‘merely’ to the status of a prophet, however potent that may be, is a basic error. He is chosen by God in some special sense for his mission, and given the Power and Wisdom, and Mysteriousness, of the Holy Spirit in some special way to accomplish that calling. Though Jewish tradition is ambiguous on the precise meaning of the title, there are places where the Messiah is called the ‘Son of God.’ Whether this means he is divine and human is not clear, in the Jewish context. None the less, he is unique. This strange figure is more than any prophet. One of the prophetic tasks had been to anticipate his actual coming, and to delve his nature, and significance. But always, and more and more as time goes by, whatever else might be added to the Messiah as ‘decoration’, his essential core is to be a Redeemer, and a Davidic King.

No one like this has appeared previously, because ‘redemption’ has only slowly, over hundreds of years, crystallised out of ‘righteousness.’ That the Redeemer is a Davidic King means that Righteousness is not transcended, or replaced, but is included in Redemption. Only a warrior chief, such as the indigenous Indians of North America had, or a ‘high king’ such as the ancient Celts had, and a king like David who briefly united Judah in the south and Israel in the north, becoming the central rallying point for all the Jewish people, can convey the Daemonic dynamic and worldly arena of Redemption. Redemption is this worldly and historical, not other worldly. It is ‘tikkun olam’= “repair of the world.” That is the job of a King, but the task goes beyond what the Daemonic and Kingly trinity of ‘truth, justice, righteousness’ can achieve. Something further is needed= an Action initiated by God, and the special human being uniquely commissioned by God to perform it as God’s representative, virtually God’s presence, on earth.

Anyone is free to reject the Jewish understanding of who the Messiah is, and what the Messiah has to do, but reducing the Messianic Figure — who forms over a thousand years of Jewish struggle with Yahweh in the deep heart — to fit in with prophets, priests, holy men, sages, elders, healers, is not workable. It is false to what the Jewish prophets were given as divine revelation concerning the Mashiach.

3,

The Jewish prophets evolved out of Asian shamans, and adapted the shaman for a more existential, historical, this worldly, religious path. The Jewish prophets are radically Spirit oriented. None the less, the reliance of the prophetic calling on Spirit, and spirits, is not to be confused with the special and unique role that the Messiah has with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, and spirits, know this role, and so help Yeshua the Mashiach to fulfil it. When the New Testament speaks of having the ‘Spirit of Christ’, most Christians misunderstand this, and some defile it. The claim that Christ can give a person the Spirit ‘in a new way’ does not mean people alive before him had no relation with Spirit, or spirits. An Oglala elder once said to me, ‘We walk in one Spirit and with many spirits.’ This is mystically sharp, and illustrates a rich, and immemorially old, human relation to Spirit and spirits before the Messianic Event. Nor does the Biblical assertion mean that unless a Christian is ‘born again’ by being given Christ’s Spirit, they will not be saved but will go to hell. This last interpretation is dark Satanic hogwash.

The Messiah can pass on to other human beings the same Spiritual Empowering that enabled him to do his deed as Redeemer and King. To receive Christ’s Spirit is thus to be assigned as, and appointed to, the Messianic. It has nothing to do with being ‘saved’, nor with ‘saving’, because as the Passion gospels make clear [especially Mathew, 27], the Redeemer and King, once nailed to the spot, once staked to the ground, once bound hand and foot to the human tragedy by ‘ascending’ the Cross, is no longer just a saviour. He is taunted, ‘save yourself’, but he cannot save himself, and neither can he save anyone else. This is the whole point. As King he is Reversed and Sacrificed, spat upon, sneered at and denigrated, not royal at all but a criminal and derelict like the lowest of the low; and as Redeemer he is Reversed and Humbled, mistrusted and disbelieved and put to severe test to prove himself kosher, authenticated, valid, or in Paul’s words [Philippians, 2, 5-11], “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name..”

Salvation is one thing, redeeming is a totally different thing, far more costly to God and hard for humanity, yet far more universally inclusive and wonderful beyond all imagining in outcome. The Redeemer and King is not a saviour, neither a new kind of saviour, nor the old kind of saviour all over the Far and Near East, enlightening people, lifting them up and out of murky waters. Redemption throws them back into deeper waters. Redemption does not ‘save’ us from anything; it embraces everything, and by how it ‘passes’ through, transforms it from within, and remakes it in depth. In redeeming, the greater dies to the lesser, that the lesser may die to itself and be resurrected as greater.

The new Spirit, and spirits, the Messiah will give us is entirely, and only, to do with helping us do the Messianic work and helping us venture the Messianic deed. If we are redeemed by the Messiah, we become a redeemer like him, by virtue of his Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not belong to anyone. Even the Messiah does not own the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit proceeds directly from Yahweh, and is not ‘channeled’ through the Logos. That Western theology, introduced by Roman Catholics and imitated by Protestants and Anglicans, is yet another basic error. ‘Christ’s Spirit’ does not refer to ownership, but simply says, ‘if you want to follow in the footsteps of Christ, going where he went and doing what he did as Messiah, then the same Spirit, and spirits, who empowered Yeshua to accomplish that mission will be given to you to accomplish the same mission—albeit in your personal way, and in the context of your time and situation.’ We do not receive Spiritual Help to ‘imitate’ Christ—another basic error. The Spiritual Fire that was necessary for the Messiah to do what he did is necessary for us to do the same in changed circumstances. In this way, Messianic Action to repair the world, to redeem its historical long haul over all of time, is never imitative of Christ, or other Christ-like persons. It is always new, ‘present’ to its place and moment, and will always be the free self-giving of the person involved, and so it will be marked by their ‘style of doing things’, their own special and unique way of responding to the ancient hope of the Jews.

Thus, when we are redeemed, and redeem, we too become special and unique. We too become ‘anointed’ as Redeemer and King. We too will have our nobility of heart dismissed as ignoble, and we too will empty the spirit that seeks divinity, so that a different heart and different spirit can reach, and work in, and work beneath, the unredeemed and ruined heart and spirit of all humanity.

4,

Even before the Exile in Babylon [600 B.C.], several Jewish prophets warn that the first covenant between God and the Jews, the covenantal promise rooted in ‘hesed’, has not worked, and is thus not sufficient to bind God to humanity, and human to human. Jeremiah says there needs to be a ‘new’ covenant. He blatantly says the ‘first’ covenantal relationship between God and the Jews has been betrayed, and is ending; if the people chosen by God for some unknown purpose are to be retained at all, then it will have to be in a ‘second’ covenant.

This second, and new, covenantal relationship, a new promise given by God to the Jews, and through them to all humanity for all time, is Messianic. This new covenant is created by the coming of the Messiah. And for Christians, this second chance for God and humanity to really bond, to cleave, to enter a promise that is both gift and contains obligations, is exemplified and sealed by Yeshua on the Cross. Nothing else, nothing less, ‘establishes’ the renewed covenant between God and his chosen people, and through them, between God and all of humanity. The new covenant holds until the end of time.

It commits God to greater effort for humanity, to more suffering to release us from hell, to more loyalty to us despite the existentially deep hell in which we are stuck. The Cross, as the exemplar of and seal on the final covenant, commits God to descent into our lowliness, to suffer it, but by suffering it in a new way, changing it at source. What is resurrected from that deep abyss is the redeemed heart and spirit, and this is also the ‘new heart of flesh’, no longer ‘the old heart of stone’, foretold by Ezekiel.

When the errors of centuries are washed away, the Messianic Reality stands before us, shorn of nonsensical accretions, and it is stark, raw, potent, ugly rather than attractive, incarnate and undergoing the worst for the sake of those unable to come out of the worst. Redemption is for those who cannot be saved, which means, redemption is for that depth in all of us that cannot be saved—yet at extreme cost, can be redeemed.

This is why the Messianic Drama is new, special and unique, different from the Oriental Salvational Way of enlightenment and all forms of up-lift. Whether salvation is kindly enough to be generous towards this world [offering its help and succour wherever it finds need], or withdraws and sets its sights on other worldliness [the mountain top spirituality of a certain kind of mysticism], it can drag us out of the ‘effects’ [consequences] of the profound human problem, but it cannot get to grips with, it cannot even dent, the ‘cause’, the abysmally deep origin of that problem. Salvation cannot change the heart in its basis, in the mysterious deeps from which it takes its stand. Benign generosity toward the other is not exposed to the edge from which redemptive action comes. The heart must be changed, fundamentally, for it to become the engine that changes the world, fundamentally.

This is the Mashiach, Redeemer and King. He is ‘the first born of many.’ His sons and daughters, who will become his brothers and sisters as they grow to the full stature of the Messianic Mystery, will also be redemptive and royal persons, following the visible example of the Messiah, and being inspired by the invisible Messianic Spirit.

For those who have been told by the Spirit, and spirits, that Yeshua is the Christ, the Cross, Descent into Hell, and Resurrection [three days] is the drama, the mystery, the power and wisdom, the hidden significance and harsh truth, of the Messianic Covenant.

This covenant of the Messiah — created by the Messiah for he brings God to it and he brings humanity to it, equally, at one and the same time – starts not on the day of Yeshua’s birth, but on Palm Sunday. It is Palm Sunday when, as a prophet had said, the Mashiach will enter Jerusalem on a donkey [Mathew, 21, 1-11], not gloriously with pomp and worldly power – imagine the Assyrian king entering Jerusalem its victor – rather, modestly with no pomp and no worldly power, just the power of authoritativeness that emanates from his being, and which persuades the populace greeting him with fronds that he is indeed their King, indeed their Redeemer. For a moment, he is truly recognised by his people, before they forget the prophecies of Isaiah. Soon, the King is spat upon, and the Redeemer is disbelieved.

5,

Redeemer and King, not prophet, and not priest. Though Paul claims the Messiah is a High Priest ‘higher’ than the Jews had in the Temple of Solomon, this is simply an attempt to put a limitation on the Jewish priestly tradition, which does not convince, and is not necessary since the kingly sacrifice always exceeds, as well as differing from, the priestly sacrifice, not only in Judaism but also in Christianity. In any case, as there are times when Christ acts with prophetic powers, so there are times when he acts with priestly powers.

Whatever can be claimed about Yeshua’s mission earlier on, when he teaches and instructs, heals and cleanses, does miracles, in a blend of prophetic and priestly ‘ministering’ to the people, sometimes more shaking them like a prophet, sometimes more pastorally caring for them like a priest, once Palm Sunday arrives and he enters Jerusalem, he is no longer even remotely prophet or priest. He is only the Davidic King and the Redeemer.

Yeshua knows this huge change in his nature, mission, and deed, will come once he enters the old capital city of Judah in the semi desert south, the heart lands of the first covenant, and the city of David where he united the two kingdoms. For most of Yeshua’s ministry he expressly keeps out of Jerusalem, and often wanders further to the north, operating more closely to the old Canaanite lands of the kingdom of Israel. The capital of Israel is Samaria, and the Samaritans are seen by the stricter Judeans as lapsed, liberal, compromised, Jews who are interested only in luxury, commerce, money. Their ‘life style’ is relaxed, outwardly observant yet inwardly corrupt.

Entering Jerusalem is, for Christ, ‘the moment of truth.’

The people soon switch allegiance from the Redeemer and King to worldly power in religion and worldly power in politics. They are perceiving their King and Redeemer as criminal and as non-sanctioned, and thus like the crowd described in the Four Slave Songs of Isaiah, they are ready to Sacrifice and Deny his heart, his passion, his love for them.

There is no prophet, there is no priest, once Yeshua the Christ enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and begins the moment of destiny that will bring him to the ordeal, the undergoing, of passion. He will, as Redeemer and King, carry a load never before lifted from the depth, and test and prove a truth never before won in the depth.

The King and Redeemer is not a man of mind, not even a man of soul, rather, he is the man of heart, he is the man of passion, and this is ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man.’

The Mashiach’s hour has come. The Messiah, as Redeemer and King, will establish — as the ‘rejected cornerstone’ of the house to be built – the new covenantal love relationship, and this time, the love will not just save, it will redeem.

This time, the love will include yet go beyond Righteousness.

This time, something will be done that changes everything in the depth of the human heart where the problem lies, untouched, unredeemed, all the way back to the beginning of time.

The Messiah is King and Spirit-Bearer, elected, anointed, blessed, by God to do something divinity had never done, and to do it for humanity, so that by this deed humanity can become something it never was, and do something it could never do.

Love all the way, into hell.

The Cross is the new covenant, and thus the Cross ‘is’ Christianity.

6,

The Messiah is Kingly, and Spirit-Bearing, neither just royal, nor just spiritually upheld and directed, rather, a complete blend of these two things. A strange kind of spiritual kingship, a strange kind of kingly spirituality. For the Jews, the spirit power of a king exceeds that of any prophet or any priest. It is what the king is sent to do, from God and for humanity, that makes the Messianic calling so different, so particular, so rooted in Jewish tears and blood, and erupting at a specific time and a specific place, for the sake of all times and all places irrespective of when or where.

The Palm Sunday hymn [622] of the Anglican church captures the Jewish reality=

“All glory, praise and honour
To Thee, Redeemer King..
Thou art the King of Israel
Thou David’s royal son
Who in Yahweh’s name comes,
The King and Blessed One.
To Thee before Thy Passion..
Accept the prayer we bring
Thou good and gracious King.”

And Isaiah [50, 4-9]=

“Yahweh has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.. Yahweh has opened my ear, and.. I turned not backward. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For Yahweh helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint.. he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together.. Behold, Yahweh helps me..”

Paul [2 Corinthians, 4, 8-12] describes our own coming to the Cross when we are in the heart and spirit of the Messiah= “troubled on every side yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed. Wherever we go we carry.. in the body the dying of Christ that the life also of Christ might be made manifest in our body.”

When the Messianic Spirit expounded, acted upon, suffered and paid for, by Yeshua the Mashiach rules the world, then a kingly spirit, and a spiritual kingship, is enthroned in the heart of the entire world process, and the passion that fires up from that centre of things will henceforth work to change all things.

The whole drama of the Passion, ending in the Cross, revolves around no theme of the prophetic or the priestly, but turns on whether Yeshua’s ostensible royalness is real, and whether he has from God any genuine spiritual sanction. These are the Messianic themes.

In Mathew, chapter 27, Pilate asks Yeshua if he is the king of the Jews, and Yeshua does not give an unambiguous answer, just replying= “You say it.” Pilate asks Yeshua if he knows all the derogatory slanders being thrown at him, and all the accusations being heaped on him? He does not answer. The people prefer that a career criminal is released on a Jewish feast day than that the tide of lies that Yeshua is disreputable and unsanctioned be dropped. This denigration and doubt is necessary to the drama, and hidden meaning, of the redemptive process that is beginning to unfold. This is why Yeshua, aware of Isaiah’s Four Slave Songs, says little, not seeking to justify himself, explain himself, or rebut all the false charges against his heart and its spirit. Pilate, not so involved, realises his wife is right that Yeshua is ‘just’, and echoes her word to the Jewish chief priests and people moments later. For them, the very term ‘just’ has echoes going back far into Jewish history. At the time before Saul, David, and Solomon, when the Jews had no king, they did have ‘judges.’ These were not someone presiding in a court of law. They were war leaders, ‘warrior chieftains’ as North American Indians and Celts would recognise them, and they were only called into activity when they were needed, usually in a national crisis. They resemble the Lakota elders who sit in council, to decide ultimate matters bearing on the tribe’s destiny. Pilate, in his urbane and cynical Roman manner, is recognising that Yeshua is the prototype of one of these ancient Jewish ‘Just Men’, and hence is ‘judging’ him as Righteous. Pilate cannot comment upon, and has no competence toward, the trickier questions surrounding the Messiah, and so he has no view on Yeshua as king or redeemer. Both were fraught with danger for the governor of a rebellious and turbulent outpost of the Roman Empire. Pilate is simply saying, ‘this man rings true.’ He doubts, therefore, that the terrible things which are being said about him can hold for a truthful man. He doesn’t want to get dragged into anything beyond that. The Messianic themes are a no go area for him.

Despite Pilate asking the Jews, when they preferred Barabbas be freed rather than Yeshua, ‘what evil has he done?’, the die is cast. Yeshua is in the room of no exit, and there is no escape. The fated suffering, the fated carrying of the weight, the fated paying of the cost, has begun. Nothing can stop it. Nor should it be stopped, though Pilate would be the last to realise that what is about to happen is what must happen. Famously, he washes his hands of the Jewish nit picking over obscurities of kingship and redemption with which he has no relation whatever. He may be a decent man, even. It is all too dramatic, too deep. He wants to quiet the tumult, which is getting out of control. So, give the zealous fools what they want. A human sacrifice.

A human sacrifice which is, at the same time, a divine sacrifice. A sacrifice of God to humanity, a sacrifice of humanity to God. Each side makes radical Give Away. God might prefer to be in heaven’s bliss. As Kazantzakis showed in ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, humanity might prefer a whole slew of ‘good things’ of the earth, from a good marriage and happy sex through the joy of human sharing to mystical illumination. Feeding the doves on a back balcony of a noisy city, glimpsing the warm light that fades in the evening through a lattice of trees, a snatch of some melody that tugs at you as it roars past in a car; there are endless gifts of goodness on earth, as in heaven..

It is too late. God and humanity, together, enter the room of no exit. It is done. What was initiated on Palm Sunday is reaching its first climax. In front of the soldiers of the Roman army, Yeshua is stripped naked, and they put a scarlet robe on him, to show that as warriors of the king, they deride his pretensions to that high estate. The sacrificial king is sneeringly and contemptuously ‘enrobed’ in royal splendour. He is also ‘crowned’, and by making the crown of thorns, and the robe blood red, they unconsciously bear witness to the true nature of this kingship. A king not above the pain of human existence, but given up to it, given over to it, immersed in it. The unrealised accuracy of their reaction to the Messiah – even the soldiers of Rome implicitly ‘get’ that it is the Messiah in front of them – continues, when they put a reed in his right hand, as his ‘sceptre.’ In Isaiah the non judgementalism of the Messiah is described by using the metaphor of precisely this reed, for the old text says human beings are a ‘broken reed’, and the Messiah has not come to make our brokenness worse by condemnation; the reed will be healed, changed, transformed, to become upright again. It will not be ‘straightened out’ brutally. Even when the soldiers hail this man they find piteous, and absurd, they are true to Isaiah’s account. They are giving praise, even if ironic, to the Messianic reversed King and inverted Spirit-Bearer. This is, actually, who they laugh at. The Messiah is there, and the soldiers pick this up, oddly, even bizarrely. For ‘God is not mocked.’ The truth will out..

The soldiers call him king of the Jews, then disrobe him, and beat him. Then they take him to the Cross. The hard road up the hill to the bleak place of crucifixion is the second climax in the drama. The Cross itself is the third climax.

On the Cross the mocking sign is put up, ‘this is Yeshua, King of the Jews.’

Bitter vinegar and gall, rather than wine, is forced upon his mouth. The jokes are mounting thick and fast now. This is turning into a good day out for Aunty Enid and the kids.

The wine of Eros, the vinegar and gall of the Daemonic. The room of no exit seems smaller now, more cramped, with less opportunity for manoeuvre. It is all coming down to a last place on the edge, a last struggle on a narrow ledge. It is all starting to come towards a point, and everything will hinge on what the last deed of the Slave and Suffering Servant of Yahweh does then. Time is almost over.

It is now, in the last brief time before time is up and it becomes now or never for the Messianic Deed, that salvation is held up to jeering. Those passing by revile him with the accusation: ‘you who could destroy the Temple and raise it again in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross.’ The chief priests take up the same chant, ‘he saved others, yet himself he cannot save. If he is the King of Israel, then let him come down from the Cross, and we will believe in him. This man trusted in God, and said he was the Son of God, so let God save him now.’ The thieves crucified with him take up the challenge to Yeshua to save himself, or get God to save him. Why is it that the man who saved others can neither save himself, nor get God to save him? It casts into doubt all his salvational work for others if he himself is not saved.

Mathew does not recount the story of the good thief, who breaks the script, and asks Yeshua to have mercy on him. The crowd go on in this vein, even after Yeshua cries out in the climax of the drama before he dies, when strange phenomena of the earth and sky acknowledge who he really was and what he really did. Even at this climactic moment, which the crowd recognises tacitly as a profound crisis, they go on with their fixation about ‘salvation.’ They talk about the prophet Elisha, the disciple or spiritual ‘son’ of Elijah who went up to heaven in a fiery chariot, and wonder if this ancient and semi magical prophet will ‘save’ Yeshua.

If Yeshua really is the Mashiach, then he was born into the world for this, the trial, getting up the hill, the Cross. He was not born to be saved; he was born to be sacrificed as King and emptied as Spirit-Bearer, so he could redeem.

Earlier in his calling, he saved many, and thus continued the salvational way common to the Jews and everyone else in the Near East to the Far East. We are ‘saved’ from something horrendous, but in redemption, we are given over to, given up to, something pained, heavy, costly, deeper down at the very point where the root digs in. Our royalness must be sacrificed, our spirit must be emptied, for this to happen.

On the Cross, it happens, for real, and there is no escape for Yeshua because he is the Christ, and he is enacting the Messianic Story down to its last dregs in a sharp cup of ultimate sorrow. He is the ‘man of sorrows’ born for this. As he took his first breath upon entering this world, something in him shuddered, because he had a foreboding of the room of no exit even then. It always called to him. It always came closer. He always knew he would enter it. He would not be saved from its clutches, but sacrificed in heart and emptied in spirit as he fought with, and accepted, its Daemonic summons.

The time would come when time had run out, and then salvation would end, because the horrendous last struggle for the new covenant of redemption would be inaugurated.

On the Cross, salvation recedes and wanes, while redemption races in and waxes. On the Cross, the promise of redemption is given and enacted.

The climax is reached in two things Yeshua the Christ cries out, from the hell into which he is descending, but in that abyss these things will become deeds.

He joins humanity in our heartbreak, when he says, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.’ This echoes David in the Psalms, yet is fully sincere in him, and in all of us. God will not save us. Indeed, ‘God saves’ is inoperative at the place in the world where the two roads cross, where everyone of good heart is crucified, where even the good heart faints, and where the abyss looms up from below, threatening to swallow any passionate action because there is no heart in God and no heart in humanity to sustain its risk.

God will not save him, nor you, nor me. God did not save the Aboriginals of Australia. God did not save the Indians of the Americas. God will not save the children who die, or who are so damaged, their life is over before it starts. God will not save our innocence, nor protect our vulnerability. Yes, we can be raised out of the general mire by salvational practices. But the deeper tragedy remains.

Yeshua not being saved, and everyone mocking him over it, is happening just the same to us. We too are not being saved and the world crows in merriment at our discomfiture. We don’t understand. Some of us are more complaining about it, some of us more stoic, some of us react viciously, some of us put up with it more generously, but it is there, just the same, in all of us.

Salvation is not working, and cannot work, at the profounder base of life.

Yeshua’s other cry is for Yahweh to forgive all humans, when they crucify the best as if they were the worst, ‘for they know not what they do.’

Salvation is no more, but on the Cross redemption begins.

The Messiah joins us in suffering our tragedy at depth; and we will join in this suffering, whereby we can be dragged through the depth to the other side, and undercut hell as we pass through.

The result is the resurrected heart and the resurrected spirit. The reignited passion, and the victorious heart.

The victorious heart is golden. Its passing through the depth, redemptively, is black and red. The new dawn, afterward, is golden.

The sacrifice and the emptying reaches resurrection, and at this point, the heart has triumphed, and passion will never be undermined or stopped by any obstacle.

The golden heart, the heart of the new dawn after the endless night, a goldenness sometimes ochre, a warm yellow brown, because the earth is included in redemption.

Not to believe in the earth, to reject the earth’s redeemability, to despair of the potential for change in the world process of history, to give up on tikkun olam and refuse to repair the world and instead yearn to escape to heaven—all this is the repudiation of the Messiah, all this is crucifying the Messiah yet again, without let up.

For those touched by the Spirit of the Messiah, those redeemed in some measure however small and redeeming in some measure however small, what the Jews always said about the love of God applies equally to the Messiah. ‘You can never do enough.’ You can never do enough to repair the world, and redeem the buried treasure hidden in the earth.

7,

This is what began on Palm Sunday, moved through a trial, moved up a gear on a bleak hill travelling to a bleaker place that stank of death and defeat, and a final despair, and ended on the Cross. There it happened. There it was done. There the Messiah said, ‘it is finished.’ Not Caesar’s stupid ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, but ‘I did what had to be done. Now you can do what before was closed to you.’

That old stone tomb is done. Now real existence, real action, starts.

It is fitting that, even if the vast crowds must continue to demand his crucifixion, we thank the Messiah.

His deed, which finished him and he finished, is our new beginning– and promises better things to come ‘in the end.’

As you accepted our weeping, accept our praises for joining it, and changing it only because it made you suffer like we suffer.

This is the new mystery of the Cross. This is the new covenant. Cross, Descent into Hell, Resurrection.

It goes all the way, and undoes what is fixed, and brings back what is lost.

The death of the Messiah on the Cross, because of our deadness, is the dying through which he, and we, are reborn.