Roberta Bondi’s Nightmare

In his book on atonement theology, “Saved from Sacrifice”, Mark Heim tells us of a dream that Roberta Bondi once had:

I dreamed I was with Richard in my great-aunt Blacky’s farmhouse….It was the middle of a good-smelling early summer day, with the insects humminga and the hassock fan whirring on the front porch. Sunlight poured through the kitchen into the back hall where I was in darkness. I was sobbing and wringing my hands outside her green-tiled bathroom. In the bathroom Richard was kneeling in the bathtub, his neck held over the drain by a powerful looking, dark-haired man with a huge knife I knew had come to kill me. “Don’t hurt her,” Richard was saying, “Take me; just don’t hurt her; take me.”

In my dream I was dying with grief. I wanted to shout “No, no;I’m here, leave Richard alone,” but I couldn’t make any sound. As I watched in horror, the killer slit Richard’s throat and red blood flowed allover the green tiles.

Then the dream was over, and I began to rise out of sleep, shivering, sobbing, and covered with sweat….In the very same instant the words formed in my mind, “this is what you’ve always thought the crucifixion is about, but this is not it,” and I knew both were true.

But if this is not it, asks Heim, what is?


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