Sunday, March 27, 2016

Resurrection and Revolution

"Easter in the Desert"

Today people from all over the globe celebrate Easter Sunday – for some people today’s celebration is a springtime festival, a welcome return of life once again after the harsh rigors of winter. For others it is the Day of Resurrection- a celebration of an empty tomb, a proclamation that Jesus continues to live and that love is victorious over the power of hate. But regardless of what Easter may mean to anyone who celebrates it, today is generally an occasion for families to gather for brunch, chocolate bunnies, Easter- egg hunts, lots of blossoms and bright spring flowers.

I came across a helpful and inspiring article in the Boston Globe that talked about what Easter meant to those ancient Christians who first celebrated The Resurrection of Jesus Christ some 2000 years ago – a far cry from bunnies, brunch and pretty spring flowers.

In the early Christian times, the celebration of Easter was a call to join in the revolution of love first begun by Jesus - the celebration of resurrection was a declaration of revolution against the status quo of the dominant culture of oppression, division and exclusion:

A more careful look at the Gospels offers
a far less sentimental picture of the original Easter message which was not
‘Jesus is alive and here’s what it means for the next world.’
Rather the true lesson back then was
‘Jesus is alive and here’s what it means for this world.’

Those first century followers of Jesus dared to claim ‘Jesus is Lord,’
a bold seditious claim that flew in the face of the standard, ‘Caesar is Lord.’

Jesus’ resurrection marked the end of Caesar’s way of doing things.
It established a new kingdom in which enemies are loved,
the marginalized are given a primary place and the poor are blessed.

In this new kingdom hierarchies are subverted,
and prodigal children are welcomed home.
Black lives matter here, as do queer lives
and the lives of undocumented aliens within our borders.
‘Remember the stranger in your midst’ is a common refrain in this kingdom

In these days of campaigning for upcoming presidential elections in this country we are told that no candidate for the office can hope to be successful unless they claim to believe in God, and that a “Christian” candidate has the best chance for election to that office. In light of what “Christianity” originally meant I hope that we might indeed elect someone who is a “Christian.”

It seems to me that all the talk about building walls to keep out immigrants, excluding foreigners and carpet-bombing enemies is about as far as one might possibly get from the subversive and revolutionary message of Jesus that was first celebrated back some 2000 years ago on a Resurrection Sunday such as this.

Today’s resurrection festival is also a declaration of revolution and you certainly don’t have to be a Christian to join in this cause.

Happy Easter! Long live the revolution!

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