Holy saturday meditation (from Peter Rollins)


Let us imagine that we have died and are waiting to stand before the judgement seat of God … Try to imagine how it feels to look over your life – what you are happy about and what you regret… Now imagine being brought into a magnificent room within which there is a great white throne. Upon this throne is a breath-taking being who shines as if full of light…
After a moment the one who sits on the throne begins to speak: ‘My name is Lucifer and I am the angel of light. I have cast your God from his throne and banished Christ to the realm of eternal death. It is I who hold the keys to this kingdom. I am the gatekeeper of paradise and it is for me to decide who shall enter and who shall be forsaken.’
Now imagine that this angel stretches out his vast arms and says, ‘In my right hand I hold eternal life and in my left I hold death. For those who would bow down and acknowledge me as Lord, I shall grant them safe passage into paradise, but those who refuse I will vanquish to death with their Christ.’
After this the devil rnoves his arms so that each of his hands is placed before you and asks, ‘What do you choose?’


It is only as we experience Holy Saturday that we can ask whether we would follow Christ regardless of heaven or heil, regardless of pain or pleasure, whether we would follow in the midst of the uncertainty that Holy Saturday brings to our lives. It is only here that we can ask if we have truly offered ourselves to God for no reason other than the desire to offer ourselves as a gift. Faith does not die here, rather it is forged here.

(from the book ‘How (not) to speak of God’ by PeterRollins)

Would you still follow Jesus? Would I?

Do we follow Jesus for Jesus, or would we just take any way to eternal life available? whatever it would involve?

9 responses to “Holy saturday meditation (from Peter Rollins)

  1. Dit is zeker niet voor de ‘faint heart’, broeder. Maar dit is tegelijkertijd een duivels dilemma, of anders gezegd de verkeerde vraag kan never nooit leiden tot een goed antwoord.
    Christus heeft de duivel met zijn hel overwonnen. De gedachte alleen al dat de duivel een mens het paradijs zou gunnen is een ernstige onderschatting van het kwade, om nog maar niets te zeggen over de afschuwelijke gedachte dat hij überhaupt God van Zijn troon zou kunnen stoten.
    Nee, misschien net acceptabel voor een melig gesprekje bij een sterke koffie bij Starbucks, of beter nog met een stevig Belgisch biertje ergens in Antwerpen, maar als theologische vraagstelling of als een serieuze intellectuele exercitie ‘of the mind’, maar ook als morele les of christelijke uitdaging, volstrekt absurd.

    Overigens best wel aardig om even kennis van te nemen en ben wel benieuwd wat je eigen gedachten hier over zijn.

  2. @john, I’ve answered your comment in dutch on my dutch blog.. .

  3. From my view of the atonement no one would be put in that position. Christ was the first born that overcame death by his faith and his willingness to die knowing that he was eternal and that he was from the father. That was his great sacrifice…he gave up his life and was then raised from the dead so that all humanity would have resurrection life.

    • Joe;

      I don’t think that in any christian theology we will find Lucifer on the throne instead of God the Father… And I think Rollins just uses a subverted version of the traditional story to make his point, not to endorse any tradition… So it’s not about doctrine, it’s a thought experiment. Do we follow Jesus for Jesus himself, or do we as christians just cling to the thing that keeps our ass out of hell…

      Which may not at all make any sense in your theology… Believing just to stay out of hell is not healthy anyway…

      So when you talk about all of humanity having resurrection life, does it mean that all are saved but don’t know, or that they still have to accept it and can refuse it?

  4. For me, all are saved and some do not know. I personally think that the scripture teaches that. Hell is mentioned in eschatological ways and came to fruition in 70CE. Now then, if one is redeemed, reconciled to God and is not aware of it…again, for me it is a wasted life. It is wasted in absence of fellowship with the Father. Following Christ simply as a man is silly. I would not want to blindly follow any man. I do not see Jesus of Nazareth as simply a man… I see him as Lord of all. What I was addressing is the fact that Jesus alone had to make the choice of do I die knowing I will live… I presupposed that Satan on the throne was the final last test of faith and, that is a test that we will not have to face based upon the work of Christ.

    For me, it is not even a question of heaven and hell… I lean heavily toward re-incarnation. That said, in my view the gospel is not diminished. Hope that clarifies.

  5. I know your views about realised eschatology and hell, but I don’t agree with all of them. I’m not really convinced that we do live in ‘the new heaven and the new earth’ and the new jerusalem… My ‘already and not yet’ vineyard Kingdom theology may have morphed a bit over the years, but the core is still there.

    I don’t think your view of the gospel is diminished, I like the emphasis you put on the gospel of Christ.

    What is not entirely clear is what you mean with ‘re-incarnation’ and and how you would frame life after death. Isn’t the eternal dimension of salvation equally important as the earthly side that evangelicalism sometimes has neglected?

  6. Brambonius,

    What I mean by reincarnation is simply that the spiritual energy that is uniquely me and, uniquely you and, uniquely others has more than one and perhaps many lives in the earth. I believe that there is spiritual growth and intellectual knowledge that is built by these passages.

    The eternal dimension of salvation is to be one with God and understand the all in all. There is where I stop speculating as my speculation would be silly and almost certainly incorrect. The one blog you know of me is directed primarily at evangelicals…. I try to make all of my arguments from scripture. Here is a post that will explain my musings on the eternal. Actually, the primal dream was written thirty five years ago when I was a young man. You can find the post here http://jmac-jfb.blogspot.com/2009/05/primal-dream.html

  7. Pingback: Holy saturday meditation: Friedrich Nietzsche – the parable of the madman | Brambonius' blog in english

  8. Pingback: Holy saturday meditation: momamic (psalters) | Brambonius' blog in english

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