If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the “heaviest of burdens”. If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness.
But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?
…. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to earth, the more real and truthful they become.
Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.
What then shall we choose ? Weight or lightness?
Lent is a season in which God’s people meditate on the slaying of Jesus on the Cross and all that is within them (and outside of them) that made that Cross necessary. So to that end, we’ve been doing a series meditating on the fact that Christ is the Lamb who was “slain before the foundations of the world”. We’ve been thinking through what it might mean that Jesus, in some sense, has been suffering for all time.
We’ve said that the Cross was an in-breaking of the suffering essence of God into our world. Think of it as a volcano that emerges after a millennia of quiet tectonic plate shifts. Eternity and infinity–past, present and future–break into the world at the Cross; eternity is the backdrop against which the death of Christ occurs.
We’ve also said that the world has a certain “slain-ness” to it as well, due to being created “through” a slain and suffering Christ.
Today I want to ask: What might that mean for our own suffering and death?
I have a new article on the site “Going to Seminary”. This is a little different than the others I’ve written so I’d love some feedback. Here’s the article:
For all my past articles on the site you can visit this link below: