The Muscular Christ suffered for His Father’s unseeing eyes. He was sent to experience the world’s futility and bring a moral code to replace the innocence His Father’s fallen creations ignored.
They nailed him to the cross behind the altar in the church where we grew up. The blood from the nails and thorns dripped bright and despite the anguish in His face, His long hair was combed and His eyes glistened with freedom from death. You could see His eyes from even the pews in the balcony.
We understood that He understood life was not a gift but an ordeal that moved slow when you’re young and fast when you’re old and is always ripe with disappointment. The priest told us what to recite but the Muscular Christ let us pray without hands and kneel for no reason.
They whipped Him. They ridiculed Him. He fell three times carrying the wood up the hill. They despised His purity, wanted to challenge His powers with laws. Love them even when you hate their society, said the Muscular Christ. He accepted His fate and thanked His Father for the pain.
We still have leprosy and blindness, people starving while others grow fat on gourmet fish and whole wheat loaves; war in the name of governments that have little to do with justice and persecutions in the name of faiths that preach not virtue but memories of card tricks and irrelevant mysteries.
Our parents sang hymns with the priest and teachers and visiting officials. After the service we had to join something or at least get jobs. We had to forget the physical soul and the universal mind.
We loved the Muscular Christ. He came to us in our dreams without advice, just to prove His wounds can never heal. No matter the depth of frustration we endured for the sake of another century we never blamed Him for the lies.