Richard’s Daily Mediatations



Question of the Day:
Whom do I scapegoat?

On the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16:21-22) a goat was brought into the sanctuary. The high priest would lay his hands on the goat and all the sins and failures of the people from the last year were ceremonially laid on the goat, and the goat was sent out into the desert to die. The assumption here is that evil can be expelled elsewhere, and the goal of religion is personal purity.

What immediately follows from the scapegoat story (the escaping goat) of Leviticus 16 is what is called The Law of Holiness (Leviticus 17-27), which largely defines holiness as separation from evilwhich is exactly what they had just ritualized. In general, this is the pattern of most first-stage religion.

Three thousand years later, human consciousness hasnt moved a great deal beyond that, despite the message of the cross. Jesus does not define holiness as separation from evil as much as absorption and transformation of it, wherein I pay the price instead of always asking others to pay the price.

From the cross, Jesus is shouting to history, No more scapegoats! Look how wrong you can be.

Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 142

Jesus, help me absorb
and transform evil.

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