Monday, March 9, 2009

A prison cell is an analogy for the the dependence of the metaphysical upon the physical.

Spiritually, we're all locked up inside a room. We've always been in that room, and maybe we have a small window, but it's fogged, or dirty, or it's grilled so we can't see out very well. We see ahead only dimly, not knowing what is to come, but guessing. We're there because we're waiting for judgment. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. " (romans 5:12-13a)

We're on death row, waiting for out turn before the judge. We have the death sentence even though we don't remember the first crime, but we know we deserve it because we know that we've done some terrible things inside our cell. We know that no judge could look at us and say "the court finds you innocent." Even the blindest justice could not proclaim our lives within the cell guiltless.

So we tell ourselves that there isn't really a judge at all. It doesn't work.
Then we tell ourselves that the judge wouldn't sentence us to death. But we know that's wrong.
Then we tell ourselves that we can escape from the cell, that we just have to think of escape and we will. We can't.
Then we tell ourselves that the cell doesn't exist, it's a creation of our mind. Our mind won't let us out, we think we must be wrong.

Then we hear a knock on the door. Knocking? The only person outside the cell is the one with the key, why are they knocking? We find the door unlocked, and we open it. Jesus is outside. And he asks if he can come in.

Him. The son of the judge. Coming into your cell. And you feel that there's no way, you look back at your cell and see the dirty words you drew on the walls, see the mess you left, see the hideous, ugly, dirty, disgusting place your cell is, knowing that it is a perfect reflection of your mind. But Jesus doesn't seem to care, he asks if he can come in. And - the hardest thing you've ever done, the biggest - you let him in. And, now inside of your cell, he turns to you and tells you that he has made himself a substitute for your punishment. And he wants to live with you until it's time for your release.

Beautiful day.

It's a long time, you have some cleaning to do, you have to realize that Jesus doesn't want half of the cell to himself, but wants all of the cell for himself, you included. It's hard to stop drawing on the walls, but every time you do, Jesus washes it off again. He's getting the cell ready.

1 comment:

  1. This is a simply lovely description of the metaphor. :divinely happy smiley: