The Gospel According to Sisyphus: Chapter Five
This is the fifth installment in a seven-part thought experiment, in which the myth of Sisyphus collides with the gospel of Jesus. Chapter one, along with an explanation of the project, is here. Chapter two is here. Chapter three is here. Chapter four is here. If you find yourself ready to declare #teamsisyphusforlife, read my "Triumph of Sisyphus" here.
The night it happened we were all caught off guard. I suppose we shouldn’t have been. He had spoken pretty plainly for a while about how the overseers were gunning for him, how they’d come for him so they could get us back. He actually seemed to believe they’d succeed. But he didn’t stop there. “Even then, trust me. I’ll be back for you, and your life will be unbelievably better.”
But that night, we had let our guard down. Nothing seemed to faze him, and no one seemed to be able to stop him. When the overseers showed up to take him into custody we couldn’t even figure out how they knew where we were.
Turns out there was a traitor in our midst. Turns out it wasn’t me.
I wasn’t a traitor—I didn’t sell him out to the overseers. But I will admit that his capture shook me. We wandered around in the aftermath, weaving in and out of all the people pushing their rocks, trying to figure out our next move.
“You followed him, didn’t you?” someone asked me.
I panicked. “No, of course not. I’m just making my way back to my rock.”
Again and again, people caught my eye and made the accusation. Again and again, I denied I even knew him. I could feel my soul shriveling a little, but what could I do? He had promised a better life, and it turns out he couldn’t deliver it. Better the devil you know . . .
It was morning. I looked up the hill and saw him, tied to a rock.
He saw me. I’m sure of it. He didn’t look angry. He looked tired. He looked a wreck, actually. The overseers had not been gentle with him.
“This is what happens to those who disrupt the work!” someone shouted. I don’t think it was an overseer. I think it was whoever oversaw them. I used to fantasize about that voice, offering me mercy, delivering me from my back-breaking work.
Then they pushed the rock, the rock he was tied to, down the hill.
It tumbled. It slid. It rolled. We heard the bones crushing, we saw the blood spatter.
Someone made a joke. “Too bad he’s not around to heal himself.” What had we become?!?
Tune in for chapter six, wherein catastrophe becomes eucatastrophe.