The Gospel According to Sisyphus: Chapter Seven
This is the final installment of 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. Chapter five is here. Chapter six is here. If you find you like your Sisyphii a little more cynical, read my "Triumph of Sisyphus" here.
He motioned to the others. “They need you,” he told me, “and you need them. You’ve got a rough stretch ahead. The ones who came for me are not going to stop till my message gets crushed to fine powder. They’re going to bring to bear all the power they think they have. They’re going to try to intimidate you into silence. I’m telling you now, it’s not going to work. You’re a new person. Don’t worry.
“But they won’t stop with intimidation. You need to know this. They’re kings of the hill here, and they’ll win every battle on this hill. But they won’t win in the end. In the end I’ll be with you, and you’ll be with me, and this place will be salvaged from the rock heap they’ve made it. There’s a good life ahead of you, even though it’s a hard road to get there.”
He motioned for the others to join us. “Here’s what I want you to do,” he said. “My work here is finished, and I’m going back to where I came from. When I get there I’m going to keep preparing the place I’ve been promising you. And when I come back to you, I’ll bring it with me.
“In the meantime, your job is what it’s been all along: Ease people’s burdens, not least of all each others’ burdens. When people are injured, stop and help. When overseers tell you to stop, tell them to follow you to freedom. And wherever you find yourself, whoever you’re talking to, tell them what I’ve been telling you: There’s a better life than this, and you know the way there. Tell them to follow you. Tell them that I’m coming back.
“You need to know that you won’t be alone in this. I won’t be right next to you, and I don’t expect you to understand this, but trust me: I’ll be with you. I’ll be in you, giving you strength, continuing to heal your souls from all the damage this hill has done. You won’t lose me, and I won’t lose you.
“Now, get going.” That was the last thing he said. And just as he suddenly showed up, he suddenly left.
Since then, every day has been the same. Wherever we find ourselves, whoever we’re talking to, we tell them what he told us: There’s a better life than this. And we don’t just say it, we show it: We notice people who never get noticed—even by the overseers, whose job it is to see. We take care of people (not least each other). We enjoy each other. And we remind each other that he’s coming back, and he’s bringing a better life with him.
That said, this life—this life he led us into? Turns out it’s a pretty good life.
Thanks for reading this little thought experiment. I hope you enjoyed it.