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The real meaning of the crucifixion
Jesus did not die for your sins
"The message of the crucifixion is very simple and perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. If you interpret it in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call to peace for which it was intended." -- A Course in Miracles, CE version, Chapter 6 [CE T-6.I.20:1-3]
We are nearing the end of Holy Week, which I learned, as a Southern Baptist kid, was a solemn time when we remember how Jesus, at first hailed by the crowds as he entered Jerusalem on what we know as Palm Sunday, quickly finds himself at odds with the authorities. He is arrested, given a sham trial, and sentenced to death for having the temerity to teach only love.
Jesus' passion and ultimate death, though, is not a redemptive act. No one needs to die for our sins. God did not send Jesus as a sacrificial lamb. Instead, Jesus' mission was to teach us that crucifixion is "the last useless journey" any of us should ever take. Sacrifice – anyone's sacrifice – is useless. Jesus himself says in Matthew 9:13: "God and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'"
This means that the only lesson from the crucifixion is this: "Teach only love (mercy), for that is what you are." We are not sinners in need of a savior. We are not originally blotted with some stain of guilt at birth. We are beautiful, innocent Children of God who have never left the heart and mind of our creator.
We muck about in this physical world of ego simply because we have forgotten this. The message of the crucifixion, then, is to remind us of where we truly come from. We are busy in this physical world either crucifying ourselves or others. We feel guilty for the "sins" we think we have committed, so we project them onto those around us, judging others as being responsible for the crazy world we have invented together from our collective egos.
Jesus invites us to break this cycle, to stop seeing the crucifixion as a sign of our own guilt and instead see it as call to remember that we are creations of Love and as such, we must learn to live into that reality. In short, the crucifixion invites us to reverse our thinking in this world – to see it not as a place of sin, suffering, and separation, but an invitation to see the original blessing, beauty, and unity of everyone we perceive around us.
How do we do that? We decide in each moment for Love – for resurrection instead of crucifixion. A Course reminds us that in every moment we are either crucifying or redeeming those we see or think about. We either place them in "the holy circle of Atonement" or we leave them outside of it. If we desire love's mercy and not the sacrifice of crucifixion for everyone – even those we may perceive as doing evil in the world – then we can join them in this circle of Atonement.
As we make the journey to the end of Holy Week, let us remember what this week is truly about – mercy not sacrifice – and invite everyone into this holy circle so we can join them there.
"Come gladly to the holy circle," A Course says in Chapter 14, "and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for this is what God seeks along with you. Come, let us join God in the holy place of peace, which is for all of us, united as one within the cause of peace."
Want to learn more about A Course in Miracles?
Jubilee! Circle hosts an informal discussion group about A Course in Miracles every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. If you’re in the Columbia, SC area, you can join us in-person at 6729 Two Notch Road, Ste. 70 in Columbia. If you’re anywhere else in the world, join us by Zoom using the link below. Whether you’re new to ACIM, or have been studying it for years, this is a low-pressure, friendly environment to learn more and grow together! Join us:
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About the Motley Mystic:
The Motley Mystic is an online community for people who have realized that the truth speaks with many voices. There is no one religion, philosophy, institution or dogma that captures the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. No one needs to swear allegiance to one line of thought or belief to discern Truth, because Love is the only thing that’s real. That’s what we explore at the Motley Mystic - all the tools and strategies we need to remove our barriers to Love and live fully as our true, Divine Self.
Candace Chellew is the founder of Motley Mystic as well as Jubilee! Circle, an interfaith spiritual community in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians published in 2008 by Jossey-Bass and the founder and senior editor emeritus of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for LGBTQ People of Faith. She is also a musician and avid animal lover.
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