Salvation almost has universal human appeal. I say ‘almost’ because I don’t feel too confident to say it applies to everyone…but my hunch is, it does.
What is salvation? Salvation is being saved; that is, finding resolution to the most pressing concern or worry we have. Lets face it, in some way or other, our life is pretty bleak.
Maybe you might say to me in reply “my life is pretty good, I have a wonderful partner, I have a great talent in something, I have self-confidence, I have wealth, reputation [and so on]”. Those things are transient, and the satisfaction of desire is a means-end reasoning process; while desire in particular may be fulfilled, desire as an aspect of our mental furniture is not.
Even in the locus of our own ‘transient’ projects we seek permanence, we seek the wellbeing and health of those we love; we seek the prevalence of those causes that we believe in, whether it be promoting fairtrade, or saving whales.
Salvation can express itself in all sorts of ways. Consider political instances; our daily lives. It seems almost the most universal of platitudes that life sucks.
The story my masters gave me was that it doesn’t have to be this way; if we believe that Jesus will save us, we can escape this intolerable reality.
How does this salvation obtain? Lets say my saviour, or more specifically, my desire to be saved, is based on some concrete state of affairs; how does salvation obtain?
Father Thomas told us once that in those desperate of situations; God may not perfrm miracles, but what we find is a sense of healing through Christ; the bereaved find consolation through the story of Jesus’ sacrifice. We do not find direct answers in the way of miracles, but, what is offered is a way to come to terms.
Let us think of two direct issues that have been on the news today; to which are pertinent to Christianity. Research on embryos, and the good friday agreement.
Research on embryos is seen as a symbol of violating the importance of life; we violate this sanctity of life by manipulating and altering those cells that form the magestic creatures that are us. On the other hand, the research could assist with the most difficult of human ills; particularly neurologically relevant illnesses.
Where does the appeal to Jesus lie here? Where is the salvation? Or better put, from what, or from whom does the issue of salvation, or being saved come from? I think its from those sufferers of neurological conditions, or those who may need cell replication due to damages like burning or loss of organs. The question is not whether helping others medically is a good thing; but rather, is the pursuit of medical advance in the name of salvation? Is salvation in our hands? We may grant that the ultimate credence goes to Christ, but are we not taught to be Christ-like?
Now let us consider the issue of social division; the appeal to Jesus is obvious here. Peace, and mending age-old rifts are the way forward; the issue of salvation is posed in terms of the social degregation and decline of those NI communities. What absurdity it is for two cultures which are from the same Jesus to be mortal enemies. Although I say absurdity, I do not mean this is trivial.
Where is the message this day? Where are the answers to one’s problems? Is it ultimately in the hands of God? Or can we take a bit of responsibility too….