Let's get real about Easter
Side by SideAn anonymous quote says: "The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word." Let's get real: Something in us wants the last word; nothing in us wants to die. People flock to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to touch a rock believed to be where Jesus' cross stood. At the Garden of the Empty Tomb, they stare into a lonely cave, turn and read: "He is not here. He is risen."
Published: April 2, 2010
Published: April 2, 2010
Fear that this is true started early. The establishment sealed and guarded the grave. If Jesus got out or even if his disciples faked his resurrection, life as they knew it ended. As Charles C. Colton, 18th century English cleric, put it: "Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; anything but, live for it."
A Wikipedia entry on the "meaning of life" quoted an Internet buffoon who shows our declining moral, educational, philosophical, and religious systems. Here it is, untouched: "When you get older you should use a suaside bomb to kill our self then have sex!!!!" Worse than space given to grammatical murder is lack of logic and disregard for life. In Jan. 2010 Rev. Canon David Parrott of London's St. Lawrence Jewry church blessed a symbolic pile of laptops and smart phones; obviously, Wikipedia missed out.
J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma, wrote in the Feb. 2010 issue of craving "genuine faith" and of a generation "weary of hype." Freelancer Matthew Green warned of an increase in church dropouts all across the U.S. In Jan. 2010 Pope Benedict XVI said there is growing hostility to Christianity. That is partly because even people who cry out against it don't respect compromise. In Leonard Pitts' March 25, 2010, column, he challenges the "Glenn Beck Bible." When Beck, ignited to frenzy over health care reform, called social and economic justice code words for communism and Nazism, Pitts believes he went against the Christian mandate to apply faith to deeds.
How practical should Christianity be? The International Journal of Obesity (April 2010 issue) will use research on famous paintings of the Last Supper to prove the meal has gone from the biblical bread and wine to a 69 percent larger, gourmet meal.
Signing the health care reform bill on March 24, President Obama said: "We have now just enshrined ... the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to health care." David Leonhardt, writing for The New York Times, believes this bill is the "federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."
Inequality and insecurity started in Eden, a result of sin, the biblical "missing the mark." The on-the-mark, Easter message is "Christ has been raised from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20) and "in Christ all who believe shall be made alive" (v. 22).
No social action substitutes for that; yet, as many Christians know, social action demonstrates it. Martin Luther King's "fierce urgency of now," as Leonard Pitts sees clearly, means the true Church helps make plain the basic security of Resurrection. The reality is that God's last word brings life now and forever.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com